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October 1, 1997

Your Electronic Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

Today’s banner headline in the Post highlighted the continuing nightmare in the District Police Department. The Department can’t account for seven percent of its automobiles? The editors—known for their puns—played it safe. The New York Daily News would have screamed:


I think in our hearts, heads, and kischkes we knew it was this bad. This has been a department embroiled in scandal for years. It hires felons. It protects members convicted of sexual and physical abuse. Control Board member Steve Harlan and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans maintain steadfast in backing Larry Soulsby. But if ever a situation cried out for an outside sheriff to clean up the mess, this is it.


Say Cheese!

Fresh Fields’ Cheeze Wiz, Kim Jagodzinski, will present a fun, informative (and delicious) introduction to cheese at the Georgetown Fresh Fields, 2323 Wisconsin Avenue, on Wednesday, October 15th at 7:00 p.m. Cost is $15 per person; paid participants will receive a $10 Fresh Fields gift certificate after the class. Lots of cheeses to sample. For more information, please call 202-333-5393.


In this issue of dc.story,

Jeffrey Itell


Ooops - You Meant That Sterling Tucker
Carl Bergman

Thanks to some DC ministers who realized they’d been had the Post had to do a little digging into Sterling Tucker’s school voucher campaign. When they did they hit money. Money that Tucker forgot to mention came from the American Education Reform Foundation a Republican - Libertarian group that’s favors ending all public schools. There’s more than enough egg to go around in this one. The Post published a Tucker op ed piece promoting the Hill Republican’s DC school vouchers, without asking Tucker his connections. When Tucker’s campaign manger found out who the money came from the guy quit.

Tucker was the first elected chair of the city council in 74. He was able and effective, built a strong staff and put the council on sold ground. Ambitious, he vied with Marion to unseat Walter Washington. It looked like Tucker would do it, but poor judgement did him in on the way. First, he broke the charter rule barring the chair having an outside job. Howard hired Tucker to teach a course. Apparently, Tucker never met it - he got paid, but sent a Council staffer to teach. The Board of Elections went to court to remove him. Judge Harold Green let Tucker off the hook. In the tight three-way Mayor’s race, soon after, the issue dogged Tucker. In the last week of the campaign Tucker blew his lead self-destructing. He, his campaign manager and a young woman were involved in a Gary Hart style affair. Tucker gave out several contradictory and implausible explanations. The Post gave him short shrift and strongly pushed Barry in the last days of the campaign. His other runs for council office since have stirred little. Tucker’s not the worst actor in town, but he’s got in hot water a little too often for the Post and others to take him at face value. Maybe the Post will ask more of it’s op ed authors, before they run something.


The Voucher Vote
Dk Black

Our president has promised to oppose any bill that contains a voucher plan for the District, according to the Washington Post. A majority of senators favor a $7 million initiative that would give 2,000 District schoolchildren as much as $3,200 a year for private school tuition. But the vote came 2 short of the 60 votes needed to block a threatened filibuster by Sen. Kennedy. I can’t imagine balder demonstration the ability politicians to put political payback (to the NEA) ahead of the welfare of school children. Clinton said that vouchers would take "limited funds away from them." (the public schools). Huh? How’s that? With vouchers, we educate 2000 children at $3200 a pop for a total cost of $6,400,000. I’ve heard different figures, but I think the cost per pupil for DC schools is approaching $10K. To keep those kids in the sewers that pass for schools in the District costs $20,000,000. How does granting a 14 million dollar savings get transmogrified into "taking funds away"?

The Post quoted Ted Kennedy as saying, "DC is not a test tube for misguided Republican ideological experiments on education." Why is it that liberals are afraid to deny the inner-city poor, who got so badly burned by their misguided ideological experiment known as forced busing, to even explore a solution that holds considerable promise? Why is it that only reforms that might eviscerate the stranglehold of the entrenched incompetents prompt liberals to invoke the merits of circumspection?



AU Law
Jon Desenberg

The Czar of Spring Valley, Mr. Barron, makes a mistake. There are bike racks inside the AU Law School Parking Garage. Students with an i.d. can get into the garage and park their bikes inside. Just doing my part to ensure the truce between the Spring Valley Militia and AU holds.


Wisconsin Avenue Restriping
Michael Bindner Office of the Mayor

I live in Tenley, which is just to the north. They just finished restriping in my part, and Nebraska seems about done. I think lower Wisconsin is probably next. For the definitive answer, contact Linda Grant, the Public Information Officer at DPW. I believe a contractor does this, which means she may need to go through channels - by which time the work will probably be done. The contract funding process for this type of work has been firmly with the Mr. Williams for some time now. I don’t recall the delay between painting and striping ever being so long in a prior Barry Administration. The more management we add, the harder it is for the technical core at DPW to do their jobs.


Street Stripes II
Mark G. Epstein

"John Payne" tel. 939-8092 is the engineer in DPW in charge of traffic lanes ( and I’m sure, much other stuff). He told me that in this new, modern fiscal era they contract out street repaving and restriping and that the contractors do the paving, move on, and forget about the line stripes. Clearly, DPW is guilty of not checking up on its contractors; Payne was unaware of the missing markings on Wisconsin, from the Georgetown Safeway to Western Avenue. Within three weeks of my call, most of the gaps have been filled — though not below Calvert. Payne’s implication was that life was better when DPW did its own work; yeah, right.


Cathedral Avenue Resurfacing
Peggy Robin

Has anyone heard anything about the resurfacing of Cathedral Avenue? I saw mention of this event in the Northwest Current, but only in the context of protest over disruption of the N-buses that use the avenue. There was nothing about what segments of the avenue would be involved, and at what dates. As a daily user of this road, I need to know so that I can start looking for detours now.


Dawson Truitt Ptruitt@

I have noticed for the last three weeks or so that water has been erupting from manholes at Wisconsin Ave. and Ellicott Sts., as well as Ellicott and 41Sts.N..W. I assume that the DPW has been alerted to this condition since there are cryptic markings at both sites. In the meanwhile, the roadway on Wisconsin Ave. continues to sink at an alarming rate. Southbound drivers on Wisconsin Ave.-beware!


Whitehurst Freeway Progress
Tony Ross

I work a half-block away from that project and I can assure you that there are construction people there every day banging away at it. They are making progress slowly but surely. They’ve also got a _lot_ of what is marked as "rental" equipment stashed under there that has been sitting unused for months. I suspect there’s some serious $$$ wastage there…

Willie Schatz

Tony: It brings great joy to my heart that something’s happening here, even if what it is ain’t exactly clear. But you only "suspect" serious $$$ wastage? Have you forgotten that this is a District of Columbia project? Speaking strictly for me, that’s all she wrote. Case closed.


Wake Up And Smell The Hazardous Waste!
Virginia Haufler

I recently called around various DC office on behalf of my condo association to find out how we are supposed to dispose of household hazardous waste (old paint, pesticides, etc.). The person I spoke with wanted very much to help me— but couldn’t .The District has no central facility for residents to bring their hazardous waste to, and no longer does regular household hazardous waste collection days. This means we all either hold onto our hazardous waste in hopes of future changes (ha!), pay large sums of money for a commercial hauler (me?), or we dump it in the trash and hope nothing leaks and ends up in the Chesapeake Bay (likeliest option). Our Council representatives (Kathy Patterson, are you listening?) should consider legislation dealing with household hazardous waste (although I don’t know where the money would come from). All surrounding counties have regular collection days—perhaps we should regionalize this?


Stale Milk from Fresh Fields
Steph "But we loooove those free samples" Faul

I’ve noticed that the Fresh Fields milk goes bad quickly, yes. This leads me to the inescapable conclusion that they don’t store it properly. So now I don’t buy it. In fact, there are a number of things I don’t buy at Fresh Fields any more. While some items are fairly or even competitively priced, others are ridiculous, "ridiculous" being defined for these purposes as "double the cost of a similar item elsewhere." Besides, I can see no perceptible benefit from eating "organic" food, as opposed to the presumably inorganic kind found in other stores. Some "organic" items taste better because they are fresher or grown more carefully, e.g., chicken grown without hormones is older and has better flavor. But this is also true of kosher food and many other non-agribusiness foods.


Fresh Fields
Rick Prescott

I’ve noticed a problem with their boxed soy milk. This last summer I must have returned 8 to 10 large West Brae nonfat soy milks, because they’d "turned" .The expiration dates for all of them were for summer 98. I thought it was a problem with the manufacturer. This stuff is sold boxed and warm so the FF refrigeration unit isn’t to blame.


Convention Center Tax
Tom Berry

Beth Solomon has alerted us to a potential tax extravaganza for the city. She says Charlene Drew Jarvis has introduced a new bill "that would put an unlimited surtax on DC businesses and residents" to pay for the new convention center. This is a frightening proposition for both businesses and residents. Let me remind one and all that the precedent for such a tax has been set and the city obviously now wants to capitalize on the scant resistance it received from that egregious snowballing of DC businesses. Let me explain. A few years ago the city instituted a "One Time Public Safety Fee" that was based on the gross receipts of all DC businesses. The next year the city needed money to buy land for the MCI Center and, not having the funds to do so, simply changed the name on the previous year’s form to "Arena Fee." The Arena Fee has made it to year two and will continue until the property is supposedly paid for. But the handwriting is on the wall, kids. If Jarvis’s bill passes, businesses will then receive two identical forms each year, one marked "Arena Fee" and the other "Center Fee" .Since their getting away with it for businesses, I wouldn’t be surprised to see an annual "gross income surtax" for DC residents.


Convention Center Controversy
Leslie Miles

I grow weary. Where does Mr Faul live and why is he so fixated on my neighborhood? Repeat, repeat, repeat—get the facts. Every single real community association, and every single ANC Commissioner except the ridiculous, racist Leroy Thorpe, are for the Center. We are not desperate, merely realistic. We want the Center for the development a FUNCTIONING center will bring— that’s the problem with the current tiny, ugly, inadequate center. While Faul got two postings and many graphs to reply, I note that he hasn’t called or emailed me to learn the truth about what we’ve worked out with trucks, parking,etc.,and I won’t bore the other readers with details, which I’ll gladly provide anyone who writes or calls. I LIVE here. Doesn’t it stand to reason that I would be far more concerned than most about these issues if I did not feel they had been addressed? The Committee of 100 is really Tersh Boasberg, one guy in Cleveland Park, who is under the illusion that if the Center is not built, we’ll somehow get a charming urban village with houses, shops and theaters. I followed up with everyone he suggested I talk to and they all snorted at the idea— absolutely no-one is waiting in line to build anything of the kind. Get real— this is they key to our development, in OUR neighborhood (and I can only imagine who would be throwing rocks through windows around here— thoughtful citizens, I’m sure). Finally, Blagden Alley is most definitely a neighborhood, complete with historic designation, all of one block from the site (far closer than Chinatown). I should know. I learned about the neighborhood by moving in, not taking a quick jog around it.


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



Fatsos: 1. Is there a place where one can watch Bill Parcells’ new team every week without worrying about the vagaries of the local channels? 2. Is Larry Soulsby the nephew of Sen. Robert Byrd?

Eleanor K. Penniman


I was told that Soulsby is a nephew of Senator Byrd.

Marie Drissel


St. Michaels Restaurant Query: Can anyone recommend a casual but good seafood restaurant in the St. Michaels area? Moderate prices would be much preferred. Also, is there a seafood market or the like still open in October where we could buy live oysters or clams?

Lorie Leavy


Computer Needed: I’ve just returned from a trip to the Southern Mexican city of San Cristobal de las Casas, in Chiapas state. There is a tremendous organization there supporting the local native American culture called "Na Balon." They are in great need of, among other things, a decent computer for their library. Please contact me if you can help.

Ian Sheridan


John Eaton Block Party: Mark your calendars. The John Eaton Elementary School Block Party will held on October 18, 1997 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Macomb Playground. There will be lots of games, things to buy, and FOOD (usually our most popular item.) Please come, bring the kids, have some fun, and mingle with your neighbors.

Leila Afzal


Partisans Of Vilna: This award-winning documentary "PARTISANS OF VILNA," explores the moral dilemmas that faced the heroic Jewish men and women from the Lithuanian town of Vilna, who organized an underground resistance effort in the ghetto and fought as partisans in the woods against the Nazis. The documentary, which features 40 interviews with former partisans living in Israel, New York City, Montreal, and Vilna, also includes rare archival footage. "PARTISANS," producer Aviva Kempner will introduce the film and moderate a discussion following the presentation. The film is offered to the public free of charge on TUESDAY, October 14, 1997 at 7:00 PM. It will be shown at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg, Washington, DC. Register at (202)488-0247.

Phyllis Conyers


The Washington Tasting Society Presents: "Hot Italian Wines: Michael Franz’s Favorite Choices" Date: Thursday, October 16th, from 6:30-9:00PM Fellini’s Restaurant, 1800 M St. (the courtyard entrance), NW, Washington, D.C. Michael Franz, the Washington Post’s Wine Columnist Extraordinaire, chooses his favorite Italian wines. Whether you’re interested in tasting various Italian fine wines, or you would just like to learn why a region such as Tuscany creates such fantastic wines, this tasting is for you. We will also cover the nuances of matching wine and food. We will discuss and taste over 8 of these truly delectable wines! Cost: $33.00, payment must be in advance. Call (202)333-5588 or email: to RSVP

Charlie Adler


SEVEN SPRINGS SKI WEEKEND— FEB. 6-8, 1998: Prices are $202 for 4 in a room; $212 for 3 in a room; $222 for 2 in a room. A $50 deposit or full payment is due ASAP to reserve a spot. Availability is limited. Final payment is due 1/8/98. Make checks payable to Lisa needleman for either trip and mail to 5704 chapman mill drive, #200, rockville, MD 20852. Please include your name, address, work, fax and home phone numbers, and email with payment. For additional information email Or check out web page at

Lisa Needleman


Parking Space For Rent: I am renting a parking space for $125 a month. The space is approximately one block away from the Cleveland Park Metro. Call me at 202.362.8606 or send e-mail.

Kathy Beusterien


Luxury Apartment in Bethesda: Conveniently Located In Bethesda (One Mile North Of NIH Campus) Residential Community. New Bathroom Tile, Fully-Carpeted, Includes Dishwasher. Two Swimming Pools, Jacuzzi, & Gym Equipment. Call Peter Kutemeyer Of Weichert Realtors. Office: 301-718-4000. Home: 301-493-4149.

Carl Bergman


Room for Rent? My friend is temporarily homeless...don’t worry he’s only a co-worker without a DC Story subscription. He’s a 24 year old male, looking for room to rent for the month of November. Metro accessible preferably any proximity to a Starbucks i.e. Dupont, Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant area. Please help!

Kathy Crawford


House mate Sought: Award-winning gay playwright Roy Berkowitz seeks a housemate of any race, gender, or sexual orientation to share his 2-bedroom, 2-1/2 bath townhouse in Rosslyn, near the metro in a safe neighborhood, complete with a/c, w/d, d/w, balcony & porch, for $485/month + half utilities. Available now; call (703) 525-6097 (evenings) or (703) 204-3793 (days).

David Sobelsohn


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

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