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April 1, 1998

Your Electronic Backfence

dc.story is presented in association with Washington's News Station WTOP-1500 AM *and now* 107.7 FM. . . They're both WTOP!

WTOP-FM moves today to the TOP of the FM dial at 107.7--and boosts its power to 50,000 watts--to serve our *entire* area more effectively.

WTOP-1500 AM continues to broadcast at the TOP of the AM dial at with 50,000 watts of power.

WTOP-AM and FM *** Washington's News Station!


Dear Neighbors:

When is a loaf of bread not a cigar, er, loaf of bread? This issue contains numerous bread postings, many of which delve into topics worthy of an English Lit professors' deconstruction. Or am I just reading too much into your comments?


In honor of April Fools Day, I would like to announce that a consortium of 13 university presidents are trying to endow an academic chair for Marian Barry; the mayor's security detail claims it was barred from providing around-the-clock security by the mayor when he made visits (apparently to "nap") at the homes of constituents, well-wishers, and who knows what; an article in the Washington Post recently referred to the mayor's alleged-drug use in the 1980s (It's there is grainy black-and-white and the mayor said the other day he hasn't touched drugs in eight years); half of the District police force is not certified to carry weapons, the rest are not certified to operate the coffee machine at 7-Eleven; and no high-ranking District official resigned or was fired this week.


I slipped into hysteria last issue when I promised to wear a Barney Fife mask at Senator Faircloth's office if he wrested control of the MPD from the District. Faircloth, I understand, was merely seeking verbal advantage to accomplish two objectives: ensure New Orleans Chief Pennington did not get the District job and consolidate administration of the MPD under the CMO. For those who like to read words, MPD is the Metropolitan Police Farce and CMO is the Chief Management Officer.


I will be traveling again. The next edition of dc.story will be delivered Wednesday, April 8.

Jeffrey Itell April 1, 1998


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The Bastardization of DC History
Carl Bergman at

Anyone who looks into recent DC history is going to have a difficult time figuring out what's gone down. Especially for the last 50 years, there aren't many comprehensive or accurate written treatments of the city. Take Jaffe and Sherwood's Dream City. Its 50s to 70s coverage of is full of holes. They have Ike desegregating the city. For good measure, they ignore DC's only successful citywide organizing action, the anti-freeway fight. Redoubtable Sam Abbott doesn't rate a single line. Their errors and omissions, however, fade in comparison to the school system's new DC history text.

If this week's City Paper is only partly right, DC's junior high students - those who can read -- are due for a whitewashed version of recent city history. The system's bought 3,000 copies of City of Magnificent Intentions' new edition the required DC history text. The course is the only time students focus on the city's history and government. According to Chris Peterson's article, the new text takes a decidedly pro-Barry view. For example, it repeats Barry's line that when he came in after Kelly he found "poor records, more and more unpaid bills, and overspent budgets." This and similar guff wasn't in the text's first draft. It was added at the request of a review committee that wanted anything critical of Barry, Dave Clark or the Council watered down. The result shows the city under Barry as powerless and a victim of circumstances. DC's gotten the short end an awful lot, but many of our injuries are strictly self inflicted. Intention's approach is a disservice to the city and its school children. Someday, someone will write a readable, accurate history of modern DC. It's yet to happen.


The Big Bribe
Bob Levine,

A way has finally been found to get Marion Barry out of the mayors office, bribe him with a good job. After Hizzoners illustrious career this has a certain poetic justice. There does seem to be a need to raise funds to pay for this and I would be happy to go about this city panhandling money to get the mayor to take a less damaging job. For anyone who hasn't read all about it go to the following url and have a good laugh. It's the way Washington works.


Timothy Cooper, Executive Director, Democracy First,, 202.244.9479

In Lawrence Mirel's article on the retrocession of the District to the state of Maryland, he claims, "We see only two ways to get [equal constitutional rights for D.C.]: the District could be a state or the District could be part of a state." He neglects, however, to consider a third alternative that would guarantee D.C. residents full citizenship rights. The passage of an Equal Rights Rights Amendment for D.C. residents would insure all residents of the District of Columbia the same constitutional rights enjoyed by all the people of the fifty states, without actually granting them statehood or retroceding them to Maryland. The language of such an amendment would read: "The residents of the District of Columbia shall be treated as citizens of a state for all constitutional intents and purposes." The guarantees to be granted D.C. residents would include full voting representation in Congress under Article 2 of the Constitution and the 17th Amendment, the right to a republican form of government under Article 4, the right to Ninth and 10th Amendment powers and privileges, and the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

In light of the results of Mark Richard's national poll on the issue of D.C. voting rights and self-government (released by Democracy First) that categorically demonstrate overwhelming American public support for equal political rights for D.C. residents, it is entirely conceivable that 3/4th of the nation's state legislatures could, in fact, be persuaded to pass such an amendment. After all, what is the argument against granting fellow American citizens, who bear all of the burdens and responsibilities of citizenship, the entire panoply of constitutional guarantees?


Childish Little Diatribe
J Adams,

Please Unsubscribe me to your childish little diatribe. Washington city Paper does a much better job of employing whining, snivelers to critique people who actually DO something for a living. Whether you like to admit it or not, there has not been any Democracy in DC since "Home Rule". Unless of course you thing the chief thug in a group of rioters is a "democratically elected leader." Grow up and find some honest work. Do something positive with your life, don't just sit on your ass and whine about the Faircloths of the world. Whether you agree with him or not, we actually are addressing the serious problems that have arisen under "democracy" in DC--- ONLY--- because of his intervention. Or did you not notice that most of DC's high school graduates (the few who actually do get a piece of paper, are functionally illiterate?) And on and on.


Kathy Carroll,

Hmmm, I like the idea of returning DC to Maryland...but who will own it then? I mean, it WAS a donation to help create a federal city, and if it's returned, I know several descendants of Daniel Carroll of Rock Creek, myself included, who wouldn't mind all of a sudden being the owners of some high-rent land even with the potholes. So how would that work? Where do I apply? I would promise to keep the cellular phone towers off my new "old" property.


Team Army
James E. Henderson,

As for the comment about the Army not being a team, in what army did that person serve? The whole Army concept about is about team work. In the army the private was trained to respect authority, but he also knew he had a right to provide input to solve the problems. Don't blame Brimmer or Becton. They did a great job under dire circumstances.

As for the writer who suggested that the police should have called an ambulance for the homeless drunk, do you want the bill sent to you?

We Marylanders care not have to have DC as part of Maryland. I still prefer to see DC become a state.


A Bakery Worth Trying
Sarah Eilers,

Those of you who are disappointed in Firehook, Marvelous Market, etc. might want to try The Brick Oven bakery at Wisconsin and Ellicott, across from the Outer Circle theater. They have a variety of breads (sourdough being only one) and we've been buying from them since they opened a couple of years ago. Lately it seems that their retail operation has shrunk in favor of supplying baked goods to local restaurants, but they're still a good bet. On an unrelated matter, I filed my DC taxes at the end of February and got a refund check on March 17. Just can't say enough good things about that Tony Williams.


Let Me Eat Cake
Taylor Simmons,

Yes! Firehook's raspberry chocolate cake is incomparable. The cake. The icing. The raspberries. Mmmmmmm. The price of ambrosia is no object.


More Bread Options
Margie Siegel

For variety's sake, try the bread at Spring Mill bakers in Bethesda, which they have for sale through the truck on Newark Street on Saturday morning -- they make "regular" flavors like peasant white, honey wheat, and the breads are not a fortune -- but it is wonderful to be able to complain about too much gourmet bread, when there weren't any bread bakeries when I moved her 20 some years ago -- here in Cleveland Park we have an abundance of bread and coffee, and still no hardware store --


Good Bread
Mike Hill,

If your looking for good bread, try Heller's Bakeries on Mt. Pleasant St. and just off Wisc. Ave., north of Hechinger's. A local establishment for decades, they make their bread and pastries on-site. Also, they (or at least the MT. Pleasant store) support local programs and provide a spot for artists of all ages to display their work. the coffee ain't great, but there's no perfect place in the world.

In the larger view, I disagree with the larger implication the any store that has more than one branch isn't "local" or "community-based." This thinking penalizes entrepreneurs for being good business people, and doing what we all want to do - make a good living. Current economic reality makes it hard for mom-&-pop stores to work, but many fall victim to plain-old bad planning, bad management, or bad luck. I believe the standard is that 75%(?) of small businesses go under in two years. That makes the people at Firehook (if they are a DC co.) a DC success story. They provide a service and jobs for a large number of people. How many of you are patronizing the (very few) Kemp Mill Records left in town? Why is Tastee Diner (with just average food and three stores) considered a local treasure, but Firehook gets slammed? Two stores hardly make a monopoly. If you want to fight monopoly, stop using Windows.


Bread And Politics
Nick Jacobs,

When I started reading dc.story it was because I wanted to get a better grasp of what was happening in our city--a city that I was born and raised in yet did not pay much attention to. On the whole I have been very pleased with dc.story and look forward to reading it when it shows up, but I think I've reached my limit.

What has been the main topic of conversation lately? Bread and bakeries. Give me a break people. With the city crumbling around us, with city officials resigning left and right, is the best we can talk about merely the relative merits of the Firehook bakery? What I find even more amusing is that by far the most lengthy piece about Firehook was a diatribe on free speech and not on the quality of the bread. With a mayoral election coming up and another opportunity to kick Mayor Barely (typo intended) out of office there are many more important topics to talk about other than bread.


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.



Fishy Water Bills
Taylor Simmons,

How come my current water bill is for the exact same amount as my last water bill? The bill claims to represent an actual reading ("Act. Regular Bill"). Coincidence you say? I think not. This has happened before.


I saw something on your ezine about Abena Walker who teaches and Afrocentric curriculum in D.C. Just a mention of her name. I'm writing a book about teaching. Some of it will concern Afrocentricism. Have you written anything about Ms. Walker's charter school? If so, I'd like to see it. Or, perhaps, you know someone I can speak with? Billy Tashman,


Two Upcoming Meetings
NB Keenan,

The Shaw Coalition is hosting "A Shaw Community Perspective Town Meeting" on the proposed Mount Vernon Square site for the new Washington Convention Center. Thursday, April 2, 7PM, at Masjid Muhammed, 1519 4th St NW.

The Shaw-Northwest One Crime Task Force welcomes Dr. Camille Barnett, DC's chief management officer. Monday April 6, 6:30pm, United House of Prayer -- 6th and M streets, NW.


Jewish Singles Party this Sunday
Michael Goldstein--

The Society of Young Jewish Professionals- sponsors of the Matzo Ball, presents the Chai Ball at Tel-Aviv Cafe, located at 4867 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD. Doors open at 8pm. For directions call 301-718-9068. The party will feature a DJ, Dancing, Hors D'oeuvres, Door Prizes, and 100's of Jewish Singles. $10 before 10pm- Get There Early! and $15 after 10pm. Any questions or comments contact us at or call us at 202-452-5541. Please visit our web page at


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Table for sale
Cindy Roberts/Andy Clark,

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

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