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September 29, 1997

Your Electronic Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

Curious about what it takes to publish an Internet newsletter? The Washington Post was. In last Friday’s Fast Forward section, they ran a story I wrote called "Internet Publishing (Is) For Dummies." The changed the title. To find the article on line, visit the Post at, hit the search feature and type in my last name as author (Itell). The article is worth reading if you are curious about what happens behind this side of the curtain. dc.story also is mentioned in Sunday’s Outlook section in an article by Jim Buie, a Takoma Park resident writing about the Web and local community.

Making Dough Rise

As District officials slashed police salaries during the fiscal crunch, veteran New York Times reporter/columnist Francis X. Clines predicted that members of the police force would find ways to recoup their losses. However, little did I know that the homicide squad would be raking in dough faster than that Pillsbury boy would. In passing judgment on the New York City police force 25 years ago, Frank Serpico said (more or less) that 10 percent of the force was incorruptible, 10 was corrupt, and the rest was easily led. The police deserve fair treatment from the city and District residents deserve fair treatment from the police. I hope the city’s political leadership and the new consulting team can put this disjointed system back into place.

Relieve Me of My Load

OK, folks! Here’s one more attempt to sell the remaining share of my gift certificate at Harley Farms Bed and Breakfast in gorgeous, autumnal Deep Creek Lake. Buy $329 worth on a stay at this beautiful Inn for $100. Check the web site. Get away for a couple of days. Send me email. Help me get this off my list of things to do. The gift certificate expires November 15.


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In this issue of dc.story, the preposterousness of the law, Chavous, Schmavous, school sepuku, and the search for Murch.

Jeffrey Itell


Voting in Maryland
Larry Mirel, Committee for the Capital City

Carl Bergman writes about the possibility of a law suit to allow District residents to vote in Maryland for Congressional representatives. He provides good historical background and thinks the suit could end up in the Supreme Court. Well, Carl, the suit has already been brought by a former Maryland resident, Frank Howard, who moved to the District and tried to register to vote in Maryland. Maryland turned him down and he filed suit. He lost in the U.S. District Court and just last week was turned down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He is now deciding whether to file for certiorari in the Supreme Court.

The case is Howard v. State Administrative Board of Election Laws, No. 96-2840, and it is based on a Supreme Court decision in 1970, Evans v. Cornman, 398 U.S. 419, which upheld the right of someone living on a "Federal enclave," namely, NIH, to register to vote in Maryland. The same Constitutional provision that gives Congress the power "to exercise exclusive legislation" in the District of Columbia (Art. 1, section 8) also gives Congress "like authority" over other Federal enclaves. Mr. Howard claims that to allow people who live in other Federal enclaves—including military bases, Indian reservations, and the like—to vote for state representatives to the U.S. Congress while denying the same right to him because he lives in the District of Columbia denies him equal protection of the laws. We think he’s right and we filed an amicus brief on his behalf. Our brief was written by George LaRoche, a first-rate attorney who really knows this area. The main brief was written by Frank Howard himself. Neither the District Court nor the Circuit Court gave any cogent analysis of why Howard’s claim is invalid. They simply turned it down. The Supreme Court is likely to do the same. Still, you never know.



Mr Bergman’s question as to why - contrary to Maryland’s specification that ceding land to the Federal Government for the District ought not to diminish any person’s rights - cannot District residents vote for Congress in Maryland, deserves a reasonable reply. Unfortunately, the reply is not a reasonable one, instead it’s one near and dear to the cause of the "right-wing militia wackos".

It seems that after the Civil War, citizens were no longer citizens of a specific State (within a Federation, the United States of America), but became instead citizens of the United States. Their rights henceforth devolved from the Federal citizenship, and not from their Sovereign Citizenship within a particular State. (Please see for a more comprehensive discussion - feel free to ignore the rest of the article.) As the District is not a State, you don’t have any State citizenship. Supposedly if you go to Maryland and try to register to vote, they’ll tell you you can’t vote because you’re not a citizen of Maryland, but also supposedly, if you tell them that are a Sovereign Citizen and not a 14th Amendment Citizen, and therefor reside in the City of Washington, DC, Maryland and not in the Federal District, _and_ start paying Maryland taxes, they’re supposed to have to let you vote. So the argument goes. Your mileage may vary. I’d argue that a person who has established residency in Maryland and then moves downtown does not lose their right to vote. See also the "Reciprocity" agreements between Maryland and the District. Those are a codification of the conveyance of State Citizen rights from Maryland into the Federal District.


Newt for Mayor
Ed T. Barron

Lest anyone doubt the sincerity of the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, his actions to squash Rep. Taylor and Taylor’s proposal to cut $300M from the D.C. budget should clearly demonstrate that Newt is a friend of the District. Should things get hot in the House and Newt needs to get out of the kitchen we should welcome him with open arms and elect him Mayor of his fair city.


Shaw Residents Speak Up On Convention Center
Leslie Miles

Joan Eisenstodt has it exactly wrong— the residents of Shaw do want the Center. We testified in favor in large numbers before NCPC, and there was a huge community march from Scripture Cathedral to NCPC in support. The Greater Shaw Concensus Group and every legitimate community group in this neighborhood are in favor, as are the ANCs. Why do we want it? Part of the reason is precisely Joan’s concern— we are dying for increased bus and taxi traffic— people with legitimate business coming into our community, not folks looking for our current top commodities, drugs and sex.


Chavous, Schmavous
Martin Lynds

I read with dismay John Capozzi’s comment that "contributing money to a Republican is unacceptable." As a past supporter of both Carol Schwartz and Mr. Capozzi, I am always diappointed when I hear such a partisan comment. Contributing to the campaign of someone who holds the reigns to the Distirct government doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to me. Also, I, too, am a lifeling Democrat, but I now see the need to find the best person, not Democrat, for the head(?) of D.C’s government.

As far as Mr. Chavous is concerned, hoping that he’ll be a better servant of our government if he goes full time is analogous to thinking that a cheatin’ boyfriend will be more faithful if he just got married. He’ll have to do a lot less grandstanding and a lot more governing before he’ll get my vote.


Bright Ideas From Our Shadow Rep.
Philip Murphy

John Capozzi again demonstrates why he is eminently qualified to be a DC politician. He claims, "As a staunch Democrat I think contributing money to a Republican is unacceptable." So much for keeping an open mind, John. Ever think that such reflexive partisanship is one of the reasons DC is now a dysfunctional one-party political graveyard? Perhaps when DC is at last a GOP-free zone you and Hilda Mason can get down to the serious work of turning out the lights.


The Destruction Of The Public Schools
Ross Eisenbrey

I’m sorry to say that General Becton is "succeeding" where even the grossly incompetent Franklin Smith could not — he is succeding in destroying even the best schools in the system, jewels like Deal Junior High, where my son is an eighth grader. The General and his staff set their sights low: according to the Post today, they wanted to make sure that "most schools" had "most of their books" by the time school started three weeks late. Well, my son has not received any books for any of his classes. He does his geometry in school from worksheets the teacher prepares. He does Spanish the same way, but gets no help in class because he has no teacher. The excellent teacher who excited him and made him love Spanish last year is gone, along with a colleague, and no replacement has been found for either of them. I understand two other teachers are yet to be hired.

What makes this intolerable situation especially painful is hearing from teachers that Becton continues to lie about the causes of his failure to open the schools on time, the one objective measure of Becton’s "leadership" that everyone in the city can evaluate. He continues to claim that he didn’t have money for roof repairs until July, when documents from CFO Tony Williams and Kathy Patterson have shown beyond any doubt that he had sufficient funds a month earlier. In Japan, a leader who broke a promise so openly would have done the honorable thing and resigned. Becton scapegoats and lies: "Failure is not an option," Becton is fond of saying. But scapegoating is. I have family in the military, and I think military service is an honorable profession. But Becton reminds me of the old saw from the Vietnam War: "We’re bombing the village to save it."


Parental Paper Chase DC School Style
Carl Bergman

Ironically, the DC school system has many students who don’t live in the city. Congress and the Control Board have pressured the system to account for these free riders. In turn, the school administration has decided to put parents on the spot to prove that they and their children are really residents. Running a program like this is a tricky matter requiring care and thought. Here, in part, is what came home last week.

"The Chief Academic Officer of DCPS, is asking that all parents provide the school with three proofs of residency. . . . Acceptable proofs are as follow: current lease, current registration, utility bill, or income tax bill."

If you don’t rent, then you have to figure out which registration they mean. Ironically, you can’t use your car registration to get a residential parking permit, apparently it’s good enough to register your kid. If you pay your utility bills on time, you’ve sent the part back with your name - and the schools won’t take copies. As for what an income tax bill is, I haven’t the foggiest. We mail in our income tax return, but I guess I could use TurboTax to print another - with any address I want. This is a rather cynical and half hearted attempt to deal with a real problem, not to mention a confusing and time consuming burden for parents.


Yet Another Dc Web Site
Gary Imhoff

DCWatch is a new on-line magazine on local politics and government in the District. It has columnists, organizational newsletters, and some governmental resources such as address and telephone lists, the text of selected pending legislation, and so on. Story members are invited to visit at And please give us feedback on what other governmental and political information would be useful to have on line.


More Entertainment

Kris Herbst

Some more notable Washington-area persons in music: John Philip Sousa was born and educated in Washington; country star Jimmy Dean launched his career on Washington-area radio and TV stations; the Clovers formed at Armstrong High School in 1946, later recording a string of hits, including "Love Potion #9"; in 1959 blues guitarist Roy Buchanan began his recording career in Washington; in 1960 guitarist Charlie Byrd moved to Washington; Fat City’s Bill and Taffy Danoff wrote John Denver’s "Country Roads" and "Rocky Mountain High"; 17-year-old Nils Lofgren launched his recording career by meeting Neil Young backstage at the Cellar Door in 1971; Roy Clark (who appeared with Buck Owens on "Hee-Haw") was raised in Washington from age 11; Donald Byrd’s Blackbryds record "Walking in Rhythm" in 1974; and (everybody’s favorite) Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band signed with Warner Bros. In 1976.


***For information re advertising, contact Jan Genzer—the dc.story marketing maven—at or 202/364-0383.***



Seeking Murch Alumni
Marsha Cohan

The Murch Alumni Committee has launched a project to find as many alumni of the Ben W. Murch Elementary School in Northwest Washington as possible. If you went to Murch, or know anyone who did, would you please send me the names and, if available, contact information (addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses) of all alumni you can think of.



Moving October 1 and in search of reliable, reasonable, and responsible movers. E-mail your recommendations (and horror stories if there are those I should avoid) or call and leave me a voice mail at 703.916.2409.

Valerie Kenyon Gaffney


Main Street Chevy Chase Cleanup

On Saturday October 4th at 1 pm Historic Chevy Chase’s Main Street project will be holding a Main Street Clean Up where we clean the sidewalks of Connecticut Avenue from Livingston Street, NW to Chevy Chase Circle. Its always a fun time everyone gets dirty and has a chance to be apart of improving the neighborhood’s "downtown" .We will meet at the First Union Bank - 5701 Connecticut Avenue on Saturday October 4 at 1 pm. And send groups out from there. Bring your own tools (marked with your name on them) and a good pair of gloves. Local businesses offer volunteers refreshments. For further information contact Liz Cullen 202-966-7216 or Bill Hopper 202-364-2852.

Mark your calendars for Thursday October 23 at 7:30 p.m. HCCDC will present a lecture on the scientific as well as the architectural aspects of the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Bill Hopper President, Historic Chevy Chase DC Inc. & The Main Street Chevy Chase Project


For Sale: Black leather jacket [size 40]. Mint condition. $125 [202] 244-8598.

Fred Davidson


Dollhouse for Sale: Large Dollhouse with some furniture for sale. Only ¾ complete. (My daughter outgrew it before we finished it). Original cost $200. Yours for $50. Great for the holidays. Bond* with your daughter while all of you finish it.

Joe Davidson jdavidson@Radix.Net


Room For Rent: Group house in Woodley Park looking for a roommate: professional nonsmoking female, over 25, to share 6 bedroom house one block from metro. Nice street, lovely house with large backyard, washer and dryer. Available Oct. 1. Rent is $275 (yes, that cheap. house owners have been out of the country for a LONG time.) and 1/6 util. Deposit $166. Call (202) 667-8865 to take a look.

Stephanie Mencimer


ISO Apartment: I’d love to find a one bedroom apartment or studio in the duPont area with hardwood floors and not more than $850/month. Please contact Brenda Anders at 202-456-5654daytime or 202-234-0694evenings.



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Kibitzing by Jeffrey Itell. Copyright © 1997 All rights reserved.

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