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May 13, 1998

Your Electronic Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

Found on the web from The Daily Scoop, whatever that is:

Crown Books is in financial trouble and may file for bankruptcy.

"Their new slogan: "If you paid full price, we wouldn't be in debt."

Jeffrey Itell May 13, 1998

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Alice Still Lives Here
Carl Bergman,

I've never been big on conspiracy theories. The only worldwide one I know of is the Color Institute. They plot to make sure your dishwasher's colors match your sheets and sofa. Certainly, I've never subscribed to DC's longstanding great white plot. Who needs to plot when there's Lauch Faircloth? Lately, though, I think I smell one. One that's run by, of all people, Alice Rivlin: Economist, Brookings biggie, Fed Member, McArthur 'Genius' Fellow, she's also a city government wannabe. What leads me to this? Rivlin's March 19 speech at Georgetown U. As the Post reported (last week), she not only talks about what the board should do, but lays out how the city should work. Not showy, but serviceable. She makes it pretty clear that she thinks Brimmer and co, blew it, but she didn't need to. The board had already written its own fate, and the White House has been ready for a change for a long time.

This isn't the first time, she's wanted to lead the city's finances. She offered to be Kelly's CFO, but was refused. So what's the conspiracy? Simple, she's let it be known she wants to lead the city out of its mess. And who would be the biggest mess maker for her? You got it. Alice may have had a simple deal for a White House, tired of DC. "Put me in, and make him history, and we'll all look good." When he says he has several offers, he actually may be leveling. The voice on the other end of the phone may just be Alice.


Rivlin, Race and the Control Board
Peter Luger,

I think Rivlin gets the support of DC folks quickly, regardless of race, because she has been interested and involved in DC Affairs for such a long time. Barnett, although seemingly well-qualified, came out of nowhere. I agree that it's the qualifications and ability to turn this city around that matter, not the race of the appointed/elected official. But, it does matter to many that Rivlin is considered a part of this city. She can be an insider without all of the baggage and blame that goes with being an insider. That seems to be the best of both worlds. Plus, she's a democrat who has the respect of republicans.


SmarTraveler or StupidTraveler?
John Whiteside,

Bill Adler writes to tell us about SmarTraveler, which is indeed a wonderful idea. The only problem with it is that their information never seems to be right. I discovered their web page a while ago and was very happy, since their Boston service often helped me get home on time when I lived there. My officemates and I have been using it on and off for months and find that choosing a route home based on their information is somewhat less successful than flipping a coin. Oh well.


Smart Traveler
Neil Schuster,

Yes, smart traveler is a fairly good service, except that whenever i hear that traffic is "normal" on a particular route, i still get stuck in stop and go traffic.

I'm going to have to learn that "normal" traffic around the DC area often means at least a little gridlock.


Nail On the Head
Ed T. Barron,

Lois Kirkpatrick ("DCPS In the Toilet") has hit the nail on the head. The conditions of the school facilities, bathrooms and safety provisions are deplorable in those schools where there is little or no parental involvement. If you want better facilities and safer schools get down to the school where your children are enrolled and raise hell with that school's administrator. If enough people protest the deplorable conditions the schools will be fixed.


Tourist Manners
Joan Eisenstodt

I intended to take all of last Thursday off to celebrate my b'day and go to museums .. something we who live here seldom do. Shoulda known better -- after having been at Arena the night before w/ 3 busloads of kids from the Closeup Foundation, and a small group of adults and kids, seemingly from the suburbs, sitting near us.

At the theatre, the behavior (talking, gum chewing by adults and kids .. even those of both age groups in the front row of the Kreeger .. in full view and ear of the actors) was horrendous. At the East Wing the Rothko show was quiet, the Calder show full of running, screaming teens and tots .. whose chaperones seemed to not get it either. Is it me in my "old age" that is more intolerant of what I perceive as bad manners, or is the behavior worse than ever? And is there something our theatres and museums could do to help educate the visiting groups about how one behaves in such places?


Richard Koris,

I spoke with the franchisee of the Wrap and Roll on Wisconsin avenue about why their Conn Av store closed in two weeks. He said the reason is simple: no customers, except on weekend afternoons.

Not only that, the Connecticut Avenue store was drawing business away from the Wisconsin store.


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.



Dupont Circle
Alexis Martin,

Does anyone know what is happening to all the markets in Dupont Circle? First, Market Day just closed down one day with a sign that they are temporarily closed, but one look through the window indicates that they are not coming back. Then, Sutton on the Run up and left, too. Does anyone know what's up?


Solenoid Heroes
Phil Greene,

Has anyone living in Upper Northwest experienced the following recently?

1) Power failures or "brownouts," where lights momentarily flicker or dim, and; 2) problems with air conditioning or heating equipment?

I am now in the process of having over $400 worth of work on my not-yet-5-year-old air conditioner, probably as a result of fluctuations in power that zapped something called the solenoid coil. Before I even knew about the AC's problems, I called Pepco to make sure it wasn't just my house, and was informed that Pepco was having problems recently in Northwest. Now, my contractor says that this is the likely culprit. If anyone has any common experiences or comments, please advise.


Activists Wanted
Jessica Vallette, Conservation Chair, New Columbia Chapter of the Sierra Club,

The New Columbia Chapter of the Sierra Club is holding its first CONSERVATION COMMITTEE meeting of the year. Please join us to learn more about how you can get involved with our priority issues, which include:

* Stopping the Construction of a Convention Center In Shaw * Preserving Rock Creek Park * Reinstating Recycling In DC * Preserving "Children's" & Kingman Islands

WHEN: 7:00 pm THURSDAY May 21, 1998 WHERE: 1806 Vermont Ave. NW (between S & T Streets/10th & 11th Streets, just one block south of the U Street/Cardozo Metro Stop & the New Civil War Memorial) CONTACT: Jessica Vallette, (w) 202-546-4996, (h) 202-483-2352


The Good Knight Child Empowerment Network needs volunteers to type letters, fax letters, or make telephone calls. You may work at home, on your own schedule, a couple of hours per week. The Good Knight Child Empowerment Network is a charity that protects children from abuse and fire by providing classes on safety awareness. Contact Bruce McBarnette,, (703) 404-8429.


Pro Bono Accountant Needed
Phil Shapiro,

DC LEARNs, the new adult literacy coalition in the DC metro area, is needing to find a pro bono accountant to help do an audit, as part of an application for new grant moneys. If you know of someone who can help, kindly send them to Marcia Harrington (pronounced "Mar-see-ah"), President, DC LEARNs. (202) 727-1616.


Tree Removal Service?
Bob Kulawiec,

I'm looking for an inexpensive but skilled and reliable tree service to remove a black locust tree from my backyard. If you have any suggestions, I'd appreciate an e-mail message.


Gardening Service
Sally Kux,

Seeking recommendations for a reasonable and reliable gardening service. We are looking for a service to do a major yard clean-up and would appreciate learning about local companies/people with whom dc story readers have had good experience.





Washington Tasting Society Exclusive!
Charlie Adler,

VIP Sneak Peak of Vintage Virginia's Top Rated Wines Sunday, May 17th, from 4:00-7:00PM, Georgetown Art Guild, 1054 31st St., NW, Georgetown, D.C. You're cordially invited to taste Virginia's premium wines which are usually excluded from Vintage Virginia (the country's largest wine festival) due to demand for these premium wines. Believe it or not, many of Virginia's wines are actually very popular in California, but are hard to get even in this area. We'll showcase the best wines and match it with an assortment of hors d' oeuvres. Discounted tickets to Vintage Virginia will be available. $35.00, call (202)333-5588 for reservations.


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


Busy consultant juggling many clients and much paper ISO temporary, sporadic administrative support -- need help organizing, filing, sorting and throwing out unnecessary paper -- rates negotiable. please contact Thanks. Looking forward ot hearing fomr you, and to finding my desktop again. Margie Siegel.


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