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May 10, 1998

The Mother’s Day Edition

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Dear Neighbors:

In 1994, I started a loosely run organization for people with home-based businesses, known as the Home Alone Support Group. We grew quickly -- about 50 people generally attended our meetings. One of the pleasant attributes of the group was its low-hassle nature. Someone would send out an email or fax reminder and the work-at-home crowd would appear. Many business and personal friendships formed from the group.

Home alone has hit hard times and I would like to see new life pumped into the group. Yet, for reasons any reasonable person can underatand, I'm reluctant to take on more volunteer work. So I'm sending this message in hopes of finding someone who is willing to devote no more than 2-3 hours per week (and no money) to resurrect Home Alone. I will help you -- I'll provide you the starter kit and hand over all the trade secrets. Please write to me should you wish to tackle this manageable challenge.

Jeffrey Itell May 10, 1998


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Support for Rivlin
Holly Olson,

I am pleased at the support that Rivlin has been receiving for a possible appointment to the DC financial control board. I think she would do a wonderful job and I hope that, if an appointment is offered, she accepts. However, I admit to being a bit perplexed. It seems to me that when our new city manager, (I think that is her official title- the woman that worked in Texas) was hired, there was quite an uproar among some members of the black community. Among the problems that the saw with her was that she was not black. Yet Rivlin seems to have the support from all segments of the community- including the black community. Why is it that some individuals had a problem with the new city manager being white, but don't have a problem with Rivlin being white? City officials, whether appointed or elected, should be evaluated on credentials and capability in all cases, and not just in a select few.


Not In Agreement With Ed Barron
Dawson Truitt, ptruitt851@

I do not know why Mr. Barron is so concerned with the aspect of a run-off election, when he indicates that there is nothing more than emptisuitedness viewing for that precious toehold, that we have, for far too long called the Democratic Primary. Democracy went by the wayside with the advent of Marion Barry, with his autocratic rule over the citizens of DC. As Mr. Wilson pointed out in an earlier posting, I believe that Carol has every opportunity to cash in for the upcoming election- let's hope that we have fresh leadership on the local level to coincide with the last of the Control Board appointees, and get back to the business of self governance.


John Griffiths,

"Passengers please remember, while on the Metro it is unlawful to audio or video devices without headphones..."

Metro can well afford to give out free rides this coming Mother's Day. A number of free passes this Sunday will be courtesy of the latest hapless victim of the Metro 'Soda Sting'. One afternoon early this week I was waiting for the blue line train at Potomac Avenue station when I witnessed the long arm of the law swoop down and enforce the rule of law on a small, fiftiesh woman who had just disposed of her Pepsi can in one of the trash cans. Out of nowhere, two Metro Transit Policemen (in plainclothes!) appeared, asking for her driver's license, her name, her address, etc. She didn't have a driver's license (perhaps the reason she was on the Metro in the first place), so this went on forever; they wouldn't let her board the train she was waiting for despite the fact that she told them repeatedly that she was trying to get home to her children. After some time the ticket was finally issued, they repeatedly asked her for her name and address, (trying to catch her in a lie, I suppose), demanding to know whether she had a criminal record, and searching through her Hecht's bag.

Now, many is the time that I have finished my beverage outside the Metro station and not seeing a trash receptacle handy take the can or bottle into the station to dispose of it properly. Never again, though. I saw L.A. Confidential; those bright lights in the interrogation rooms can make you confess to crazy things.

"And one more thing... Be careful out there. There's low-life [Dan Burton's word] out on those platforms with Diet Caffeine-free Pepsi cans that are better than anything the Department can afford. That soda's designed to end careers of guys like us; it'll go right through your shirt and your vest. If you rookie aren't careful someday you'll find yourself lying on a Metro platform, soaked with aspartame, wishing you'd listened to your old Captain."


Citizen Feedback
Lee Perkins,

"From today's Washington Post. D.C. Council member and mayoral hopeful Jack Evans (D-Ward 2): "I think we need to find out the reasons why people don't get [driver's] licenses and address these issues."

Citizens ought to be able to give feedback 24-hours a day. That means e-mail and or Internet access for those who have access, and a 24-hour hot line and a separate mail address for those who don't, since mail to the agencies never sees the light of day again! Maybe the control board could hire someone to do it for, say 6 months, rendering weekly reports to the CB. If it is successful, it could be extended.


DCPS In the Toilet
Lois M. Kirkpatrick,

I talked to a recent graduate of the DC Public School system last weekend. She told me the school bathrooms were so bad, she NEVER used them the eight hours each day she was in school. Some of you may recall the horrifying story the Washington Post a year or so ago about DCPS bathrooms: no toilet paper and unusable toilets. Not occasionally; all the time. If this happened for just a day or two out in Fairfax County, you know the parents would shut the schools down until they were fixed.

The lack of restroom facilities has got to be an illegal health code violation. Yet, why is it allowed to persist? Why are the school systems of some third world nations more sanitary than in the Nation's Capital? This is a crime and a shame|


Wrap and Roll
Bill Menczer, William.Menczer@FTA.DOT.GOV

Janet Hess asked what happened to the Cleveland Park Wrap and Roll. According to the manager of the Wisconsin Avenue store, "we just did not have enough sales to cover our costs." "The two stores were too close to each other" The decision to close was made after operating for only 6 weeks. This should not be taken as a sign of an unhealthy restaurant market in Cleveland Park if Greenwood's is any indication. A friend and I ate dinner there on Tuesday evening to find the place packed with people waiting all night for a table! The food is good and a bit pricey, but that doesn't seem to stop my neighbors from enjoying Greenwood's.

[Wrap and Roll projected $20,000 per month in sales for that spot and was only bringing in ten. The owners realized that there was nothing they could do to push the total up to twenty so they bailed out quickly. They are now trying to sublet the property until their lease runs out. Jeff.]


Unusual Items in the Mail
Steph Faul,

In today's mail I received two different examples of bizarre government ineptitude, and I'm unsure what to do about either:

First was a notice from the real property tax assessment office informing me that I was ineligible for a homestead exemption because my tax return was filed from a different address. Apparently the highly qualified auditors can't tell the difference between a tax *extension*, which my accountant filed in April, and a tax *return*, which has not yet been submitted. The notice was accompanied by a bill due in 10 days, of which four occur on weekends and for three others of which I will be out of town. What do you suppose the chances are that I can resolve this issue by close of business Tuesday?

The second item is right up there in X-Files territory. It's a white envelope from the US Postal Service Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta that contained my December mortgage check (uncashed) and payment stub. They were stapled to a smaller, business-size envelope that has been sealed and had the top slit open, bearing the single hand-written notation "missorted." *In* this envelope were four other mortgage checks and payment stubs from D.C., Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Unlike Marvin Runyon's minions, I intend to write an explanatory note of sorts when I return these checks to the people who wrote them. Should I submit a bill for the $1.28 postage to Marvin Runyon?

Steph "Will probably be spending much of Monday on hold, assuming I'm not on automatic redial in an attempt to get something other than a busy signal" Faul


Hizzoner Sighting
Paul Penniman,

The mayor dropped in to our local Crestar to transact business. He was there for about ten minutes, and no one (except for the bank officer) said hello or wished him well. He has become the O.J. of D.C.


Medical Marijuana Initiative is Basic Democracy
Steve Donkin,

I sincerely hope Richard Schmitt does not speak for the majority of D.C. residents in arguing against the current effort to put legalization of medical marijuana on the ballot for the people to vote on this fall. Mr. Schmitt suggests that Initiative 59 (that's "initiative," a legally binding measure, not, as Mr. Schmitt calls it, a "referendum") would only antagonize our enemies in Congress further, leading them to snatch even more democratic control from us. Are we so cowed to the tyrants on Capitol Hill that all decisions regarding OUR rights are prefaced first by asking "But what will Congress think?" Such is the logic of defeated and spineless supplicants, not spirited defenders of liberty.

Initiative 59 is simply about taking a medical decision for seriously ill people out of the hands of politicians and placing it legally within the confines of the doctor-patient relationship, where it belongs. Since Initiative 59 is about health policy, and not recreational drug use, arguments about Mayor Barry's crack abuse have no relevancy to the discussion. I suggest that Mr. Schmitt talk to patients with AIDS who are slowly starving because they can't keep down food, or chemotherapy patients who suffer from debilitating nausea resulting from their treatment, or patients in pain with severe glaucoma. These folks are commonly told by their doctors that smoking a little marijuana can help them, but thanks to our idiotic drug laws, that option is not legally available to them. Initiative 59 is also simple democracy at work, and I encourage Mr. Schmitt and others to join us in putting it before the people for a vote. If the Congress of this great bastion of democracy called the U.S.A. has a problem with that, let them come out and say it.


One More Thing To Worry About
Bill Adler,

Large cat spotted near Tysons Corner. Friday, May 8, 1998 - If you live anywhere near Tyson's Corner and Vienna, Va., you might want to keep your eyes peeled for a cougar. Fairfax County Animal Control authorities are investigating ten reports of a big cat sighting. A county biologist has also found a paw print that resembles a cougar's print. It has been spotted in a partially developed area between Virginia Route 7 and Beulah Road - but there are no reports that the animal bothered anyone. A small camera has been placed on a log in hopes of getting a picture of the animal.


Bill Adler,
Real-time traffic reports on demand

There's a neat, free phone service called SmarTraveler. It gives real-time traffic information for specific roads. You call SmarTraveler then press a code for a particular road or area (66* for Route 66, 7* for Tysons Corner, 270* for 270, etc.) and you get exactly the information you're looking for. They even divide the Beltway into parts, so you can listen to reports for just the region of the Beltway you're on. The number is 202-863-1313. SmarTraveler's web site is at

Beats hearing the traffic report on the radio after you're already in the jam!


Cross-town Traffic
Mike Hill,

For really bad intersections, I nominate the two blocks of traffic snarl between the intersection of 16th & MT. Pleasant and 16th & Harvard, including Rabaut (Pigeon) Park, extending up to 15th Street's intersections with Columbia and Harvard. The combination of poorly timed lights, mega busses, barely-running junkers, and merging traffic create a challenge course for pedestrians. The only reason no one has been hit recently (many of the pedestrians are kids) is that traffic slows to a crawl at all times of day except late nights.

Dole's License Plates
Ed T. Barron,

Dole need not worry about getting ticketed for not having D.C. Plates. Unless he parks his car on the city streets for more than 48 hours, with observations by the traffic police, he will never get a ticket. You can even park a non-D.C. licensed car in your driveway. It cannot be ticketed. Now, as for Dole's dog,Toto, if she should be walked on the city streets without a tag she could be ticketed.


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Can any dc.story reader recommend a worthy nonprofit organization in the metro area to which we could donate an old car without too much trouble? We haven't done this before, and need to give the car away within the next two weeks. Jo Radner,


I'm moving at the end of May, and have bags full of clothing that I can't use anymore. I'm looking for a good charity that will come and pick up the clothes. There's some nice work- or school-appropriate women's clothing; it just isn't "me" anymore. Would love to hear of any charities out there that will take and distribute (or sell) the stuff. Wendy Green,



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Retrocession reception May 13
Lawrence H. Mirel,

Don't forget: The Committee for the Capital City is having a reception for supporters of full democratic rights for the people of the District of Columbia on Wednesday, May 13 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. in Room B-308 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Congressman Ralph Regula, the sponsor of a bill to reunite the District with Maryland, will be there to talk about retrocession. If we have not heard from you yet you can still RSVP on-line to the Committee at <>.


Members of world rhythm ensemble Bottomland will be performing May 15, 16, and 17 with Jane Franklin Dance and the Virginia Repertory Dance Company. Concert features a new music/dance collaboration "It's in the Air" by Jane Franklin Dance and Bottomland. The dance is introduced by a girls' softball team and goes onto gently reveal sports imagery that is more about community, less about competition and most certainly about having a great time! Rosslyn Spectrum 1601 N Kent St., Arlington Across for the Newseum. Near the Rosslyn Orange and Blue Line Metro. Parking is available in the building. The garage is approached by Arlington Ridge Rod (behind the Rosslyn Plaza Building) Tickets $12 General, $10 Students, $5 children under 10 FR Sat May 15 & 16 at 7;30pm Sunday May 17 at 4pm.


Wednesday, May 20, 1998, 7 PM you are invited to an incredible speaker, Naomi Rosebblatt, who will present, "Sex, Lies & the Bible." Naomi Harris Rosenblatt is the noted author of Wrestling with Angels:What Genesis Teaches us about our Spiritual Identity, Sexuality and Personal Relationships. This Israeli-born psychotherapist teaches a popular Bible class on Capitol Hill attended by U.S. Senators. The lecture is at Georgetown University Law Center, McDonough Building, 600 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Room 200, 2nd Floor near Judiciary Square Metro. Admission which includes refreshments is $5 members and $8 Non-members of the AJC. RSVP to Vera Lemons at AJC at (202) 785-4200 This event is Co-sponsored by AJC Young Leadership Forum and the Georgetown University Law Center. Lynne Mersfelder,


I have 2 one bedroom apartments for rent. They are located on the block of 1600 Park Road, NW. One has a private garden and parking the other has a sauna. The rent is $650 a month. All have Washer & Dryer, AC & dish washer in units. Looking for at least a year or more lease Call José Daniel Mc Murraymy number at 202-797-1187.


Seeking House To Rent
Marsha Pik-Nathan,

Professional family seeks 4 (or more) bedroom house to rent in upper Northwest, or Chevy Chase, Takoma Park, or Silver Spring.


Sat 5/9 Bethesda Garage Sale
Michael Goldstein,

Garage/Yard Sale 9505 Ewing Drive Bethesda. Sat. 5/9 8am. various household items. NO EARLY BIRDS!!


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