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March 18, 1998

Your Electronic Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

I have been seeking some wisdom about the composition of the Financial Control Board after the original three-year terms expire later this year. Since my experience (and Rep. Tom Davis) tells me that these types of Boards never go away, I thought it might be a good idea to make these salaried positions, under the assumption that mere mortals could occupy the posts. Then someone argued persuasively that along with a salary comes increased buttinskiness, which is contrary to the notion of a high-powered, remote oversight board. Also, why open the legislation for more Congressional meddling? With Chief Management Officer Camille Barnett running the management show, the Control Board ought to become less involved in the daily affairs of our daily affairs.

Who else is being mentioned for hot seats on the Control Board? Larry A. King, the other Larry King, is the former personnel director under Barry, a D.C. native, a graduate of D.C. schools, and so forth. He recently retired from city government with his reputation intact. Folks have also mentioned adding John Ray or Bill Lightfoot to the Board. Both are smart and knowledgeable. However, both were politicians. Serving on the Board is probably akin to a political death sentence so I suspect there should not be a problem with their qualifications. Only their desire, perhaps.

Would they serve? As long as there is a Democratic President and the hope for an ambassadorship is a low-key country in a warm climate, there is always hope. Are these the best candidates? What do you think?


I will be away for a few days so the next dc.story will appear approximately one week from today.

Jeffrey Itell March 18, 1998


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The Three Blind Mice Ride Again
Carl Bergman,

Sharon Pratt Kelly ran a great campaign and a lousy administration. If she'd done half the job as mayor she did as a candidate, Marion would not be hiz honor of the excess baggage, but Marion who. In that campaign she deftly separated herself from the pack by branding her major opponents, Clarke, Jarvis and Ray all councilmembers, the three blind mice. At forums she'd say "these folks on the city council, they had the authority to set the budget, they had the authority to approve or disapprove all political appointments and they have had the authority to exercise oversight over all the major council committees and they did nothing, nothing!"

This time the mouseketeers are Kevin, Harold, and Jack. Equally feckless, uninspiring and disappointing as their progenitors. Not only have they not made any record on the Council, but also none of them shows the wherewithal to take on Marion. Marion is not simply a tireless campaigner; he is truly the happy warrior. He loves being out of his office, running from group to group, sliding out his unique line of made up facts, fanciful histories and unchallenged assertions. To mix a metaphor, he can make mincemeat out of these mice. Not one has shown himself capable of going up against him and holding their own. They aren't quick enough to counter his contradictions, studied enough to nail him with facts, or engaging enough to hold an audience against him. They can and will raise money, maybe even more than he does, but it looks like another listless show with None of the Above as everyone's real favorite. Even if Marion doesn't run, which I doubt, it will take more than one of these to lead this government out of the wilderness, and we need to see it coming out now.


Nominations for DC Control Board
Clare Feinson,

If Congress were struck by lightening and suddenly decided to appoint someone with ability and compassion to the Control Board, my nomination would go to long-time DC resident Peter Edelman. Former chief of staff for Bobby Kennedy, husband of Marion Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, you may remember him as the HHS counsel who resigned over the travesty of welfare reform adopted by the Clinton administration. These accomplishments alone probably make him persona non grata to Republicans and Democrats alike, a glowing recommendation as I see it. Although he would probably never be appointed (and is probably too smart to accept it if he were!), if we must be stuck with a Control Board, Peter embodies the kind of ability, character, and values needed for local reform. Peter was one of my law school professors, and I found him to be a warm, caring person with a great desire to make the world a better place.


More Convention Center Mania
Leslie Miles, ANC 2F,

Kim Flournoy is right about one thing-- residents of Shaw/Logan Circle would prefer to have houses and shops built on the land at Mt Vernon Square. But she gives away the game when she notes that a friend of hers has been holding a derelict property here for years, waiting for real estate prices to rise. Does she really believe that a neighborhood full of these empty nuisance houses (there are 88 here in ANC2F-- we've done a study of the situation) will attract a multi-million dollar housing development? Certainly the folks at the Office of Planning don't think so. And no developer or real estate lawyer in town has expressed the slightest interest in building there-- it's a pipe dream. Face it. Either we have the convention center, which will include outward-facing retail and restaurants, and which will attract legitimate visitors to the community, or we have the same empty pit we have always had. Nothing else will be built there in our lifetimes.

By the way, when the Committee of 100 tries to convince you that the land here is worth 90 million dollars that the city could really use, that is if it is zoned high-density commercial. Zone it for houses and it would bring about 5 million. Or do you think Shaw would rather have K Street type office buildings? Not on your life.


Convention Center Funding
Joan Eisenstodt,

I will be very surprised if, along the way, a new hotel rooms tax is not added to help fund the new center.. wherever it will be. Most cities use such a tax to fund not just new conv. centers but other facilities (stadiums, libraries, etc.) as well. San Diego has 3 initiatives on their June ballot of which 2 (the convention center expansion and a new city library) would have funding from hotel taxes.

Whatever happens, it will cost someone -- we who live in DC and/or those who we want to attract to use the center or who just stay at hotels in the area.


Reply To Taxes and Boarded Up Houses.
R. Allen,

Obviously you do not know how things work in DC. First the property tax situation is much worse than you think. Those that are connected and those that have money and are willing to pay will always have a lower property tax rate. The people that own most of the boarded up properties are speculators with bucks or the DC government it's self. Check the property taxes of properties owned by those known to be connected. The only way to stop this activity is to fire every one in that department and start over again. For those of you that think that the power should be handed back to this corrupt system, you should think again.


Steph "Now all I need is a vet who makes house calls" Faul was seeking home relief for her cat--and self. Your replies:

Jill Bogard

In response to Steph Faul, there IS a vet who makes house calls -- Dennis Bailey, DVM. I took my cat to him when he had an office on the west side of Connecticut Avenue near the Cleveland Park metro. I bumped into him about a year or so ago and he told me that when his rent was raised to some astronomical amount he decided to give up the office and make house calls instead. His phone number is 202/244-8595, emergency number is 301/702-8888.

---- Dial-a-Vet
Andrea Carlson,

Our vet, Flo Mitchell does just that! She's great with our dog, Stella. It's a hassle- and trauma-free way to get good routine health care for your pets. Her prices are comparable to office visits. Her number is 703-620-3919. Tell her I sent you.


So you're interested in that big advertising spot in the beginning of dc.story? Contact Jan Genzer -- the dc.story marketing maven--at or call him at 202.364.0383.



Stephanie Mencimer,

We're looking for a reasonably priced, experienced contractor to renovate the bathroom in our historic Dupont Circle apartment. The job would entail stripping paint and hopefully restoring what look to be old porcelain tiles. Any suggestions? Please e-mail me at


Cinderella Search
Bonny Cochran,

I'm searching for Cinderella items - especially a lunchbox or costume to fit a four-year-old. The Disney Store was negative. Any ideas? Secondhand would be just fine. Please help if you can.


Travel to London
Valerie Kenyon Gaffney,

Evan Roth is absolutely right - it does pay to advertise. I recently asked for suggestions for things to do on a third trip to London & dc.story readers came up with some great ideas. Thanks so much! And if you're planning an upcoming trip to see the Queen, I've got some new and fairly wonderful restaurant ideas to share, as well as suggestions for can't miss theatre productions.


Pro Bono Web DB Programmer Needed.
Paul Bailey,, (202) 483-0225.

The GreenStreets Initiative is in need of an experienced Web / Database Programmer who can volunteer their time and expertise to an exciting community web project. GreenStreets is an environmental education project that will be working with the school children and youth of Mt Pleasant and Columbia Heights to develop a comprehensive inventory of the trees in our communities. Up to 50 trees will eventually be planted to replace those that are dead or diseased. This is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the power of a Web-based computing application's ability to add value to the entire community. If you have experience building database-driven web applications and can spare a few hours to give something back to the community and the environment, please contact me.


Hyde elementary school, a DC public school is hosting its 3rd annual PTA auction. Auction '98 will be held on Saturday March 21st from 6 - 9:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Inn. Wisconsin Ave. At "N" Street. Free food. Reduced parking at hotel. Over 350 items will be auctioned. 50 Restaurants / 15 getaways / Wizards, caps, Hoyas tickets. Art work. Lunches with Ackerman, Barry and Evans! "live" auction hosted by the famous Jan Genzer! 100% of the proceeds benefit Hyde PTA. Tickets 2 for $25 before the auction, $25 at the door. Credit cards accepted. Call 202-338-1450 or e-mail: Ask for Liz or Bill Starrels.


Zoo Lecture: The Elephants of Africa
Margie Gibson -

The National Zoo and the Environmental Film Festival invite you to a screening of The Elephants of Africa, a film narrated by elephant researcher, Cynthia Moss. A panel discussion follows the film. Explore the many regions of Africa in which elephants live, and learn how they adapt to diverse habitats. A panel discussion follows the film. David Western, director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, and Michael Wright, president of the African Wildlife Foundation, discuss conservation efforts in Africa.

Before the lecture, David Western will sign copies of his new book, "In the Dust of Kilimanjaro," an inside look at Kenya's wildlife conservation efforts. The book is available for sale in the Zoo's book store.

2 April 1998. 7 p.m. Book signing. 8 p.m. Screening. The Education Building at the National Zoo. Enter at Connecticut Ave. and Park in Lot A. Free, but please RSVP by calling (202) 673-4801 or sending e-mail to


Rental Needed
Carolyn K. Carr, NPGEM004@SIVM.SI.EDU

Friends of mine, a retired couple who live in Paris are looking for a lovely in-town apartment to rent for the month of May. If you know of such, please reply to


Need Help With Your Computer Needs At Home Or In The Office?
Patty Friedman/Nick Chang,, 202.237.0130

Hardware/software installation and upgrades; setup computer network for the small office; build customized database in Access or other programs; web training and web page development; Back-up and archive your files and email on CD-ROM; maintenance, troubleshooting and network support; application/Internet training; data recovery. Reasonable rates. Excellent references.



Small design build firm specializing in additions, decks, built-in furniture, and custom-designed furniture available for in-home consultation. No job too small.

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Also, free! Free movie passes, short movie reviews, and movie discussion. Send an email message to to subscribe.


dc.story is a discussion group. The opinions stated are the sole responsibility of the authors. dc.story does not verify information provided by readers.

Kibitzing by Jeffrey Itell. Copyright (c) 1998. All rights reserved.

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