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June 3, 1998

Your Electronic Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

Almost 100 people have sent in their RSVP for our forthcoming dc.story party. Our get together takes place on June 10 at Firehook Bakery (from 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM). We'll meet in Firehook's Garden (the refurbished Roma Garden). Firehook offers coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, beer, and wine.

PLEASE RSVP BY SENDING ME AN EMAIL MESSAGE WITH "GARDEN" IN THE SUBJECT LINE. I need a head count and will send out an announcement in the event we have to postpone the event due to rain. Admission to the event is $5, which covers the cost of organizing the event.

Firehook Bakery is located in Cleveland Park at 3411 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Neighborhood parking, metered parking, and pay lots are available. The Cleveland Park Metro is only a couple of hundred feet from Firehook.


At a candidate forum the other night, my mind wandered (well, it became numb) and I began thinking of questions I might want to ask the candidates in this post-Barry Era. Here are some examples:

When you stop at a money-laundering friend's house late at night for a sandwich, do you chose ham or tuna?

--- I intend to show up at campaign events a. on time. b. ten minutes late. c. 30 minutes late. d. when the bar opens.

---- My favorite racial or ethnic group in the city is (blank).

--- Would you rather be set up in a hotel room by a bitch or a bastard?

--- I will draw attention away from my record on the District Council by a. lulling audiences to sleep. b. lulling my opponents to sleep. c. denying I ever served on the Council.

---- The Control Board is to Democracy as a (blank) is to (blank).

Jeffrey Itell June 3, 1998


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Time for the Statehood Party to Stand-up and be Counted
Carl Bergman,

As of Monday morning, Hilda Mason is unopposed for the Statehood's nomination to succeed herself as an At Large member of the Council. Regardless of prior service, she no longer can carry out her duties. This has been an open secret for several years. Wining the statehood nomination, unopposed, puts her on the general election ballot again. This is not in the city's best interest and should not happen.

In the general election's at large race, each party nominates one, but you vote for two. Assuming the Democrats have a half-decent candidate, that's one vote. The second vote is up for grabs. Many DC voters would rather swallow Drano than vote Republican. They've often opted for Statehood. Adding incumbency, a low profile and high name recognition gives Mason an edge. Many who've voted for her for years, are simply unaware of her condition.

The city council has steadily, if quite slowly, improved. Each of its seats is important, too important to be left essentially vacant. Couple this to the sorry condition of the statehood movement itself. Hilda's reelection keeps a seat vacant and relegates statehood to a joke. The 4,000 registered statehood party members need to get their act together and put up someone they, and the city can be proud of.


Jukebox Jeffrey
Jon Desenberg,

I like American City Diner, its not Tastee Diner, but its a nice Disney-fied imitation. Jeffrey Gildenhorn seems nice enough too, and I really like his Jukebox Jeffrey scrambled eggs with lox dish. But where on earth is he getting the money to paper the city with his picture. Does anyone know why is he spending his own dough on thousands of posters and other ads when he has no chance of winning?

Id really like to hear more about Todd Mosely vs. Jim Graham in Ward One. Todd was my local ANC rep and seemed like a good guy, he's done some work with neighborhood kids and with recycling. Do either of them have any chance in ethnically divided Ward One.


Distinguished "Strange Creatures in the Night"
Charlie Wellander,

As Steph Faul noted, *a* red fox is "clever and elusive." On the other hand, *the* Redd Foxx was clever and allusive.


City Paper declares Democracy First's proposal for a new 120-member D.C. Citizen Legislature "Worth Considering."
Timothy Cooper, Executive Director, Democracy First,

In its May 29th edition, City Paper declared Democracy First's proposal for a 120-member legislature an idea "worth considering." Declaring the District of Columbia to be "one of the most under represented political jurisdictions in America", with one legislator for every 40,000 residents, it asserted that the current Council, comprised of just 13 representatives for a population of 540,000, was overburdened, and that as a result it was "clear why taxpayers never stop complaining about accountability."

City Paper noted that "[a]lthough the ANCs have the numbers to stay in direct touch with their communities, they lack the juice to make their mandates stick. The council has the reverse problem-- plenty of juice but little outreach." Democracy First's proposal would create the right balance between grassroots democracy and governmental accountability. Democracy First looks forward to a city-wide discussion about the merits of its proposed new legislature for the 21st century.


NARPAC, Inc. Web Site June Edition
Len Sullivan,

The National Association to Restore Pride in America's Capital has revised its web site for June (See "What's New?" at new headline summaries, additional relevant web sites, and new correspondence to major players in DC's future. Three important new analyses are offered: a full description of the final report of the DC Tax Revision Commission; a background analysis of the Metro Washington Council of Governments (COG) in a new section on regionalism; and a description of the revamped DC Inspector General's Office. June's editorial expands on correspondence to members of Congress delineating a variety of measures they could enact in time for DC's bicentennial to assure the capital metro area's future. We remain open to visits, comments, and offers of help. Lurkers can remain anonymous.


City Services
Ralph Blessing,

A reality check before we get all gushy about improved city services. Folks in our Ward 4 neighborhood made repeated calls to request that the waist-high grass be cut in a small park near Walter Reed Hospital. (This was even before the rains came.) When I called, I was told that there had already been lots of calls about that location but that the cutting schedule was "off." How they get off schedule at the beginning of the growing season is beyond me, but this does appear to be an ongoing problem afflicting similar sites throughout the city.

Meantime, a larger neighborhood park that is used by local soccer leagues needed cutting if any games were to be played. Soccer parents reportedly passed the hat to hire someone to mow the field. Not all that unusual, unfortunately, in a city where residents need to hire their own recyclers and pay extra for teachers aides. In this case, though, it is a Montgomery County league that leases the field and that ended up footing the bill. Poetic justice, perhaps, but it sure must make our city look even more inept and disorganized than those suburbanites usually assume to be the case.


Connecticut & Porter Accidents
Gaelyn Davidson,

Heading west on Porter, stopped at the light to cross Connecticut, I always (and I'm not exaggerating) find someone from the left-turn-only lane who wants to go straight and cut me off. I've even come to the expect folks in the left-turn-only lane who cut EVERYONE off to turn right. This is a crazy intersection and I'm glad someone mentioned it.


Red Light Running & Egregious Intersections, Conn. @ Porter, continued
Lindsley Williams,

The problem described in the last issue by James Treworgy about making left turns from west bound Porter Street to southbound Connecticut Avenue needs than a left-turn arrow would accomplish. The intersection badly designed and now has to handle more turns than it did prior to the closing of the Klingle Road connection for traffic from "east of the Park" that wants to head toward the Cathedral/Georgetown. To make matters worse, another natural path for this traffic demand, namely west along Tilden to Reno/34th specifically prohibits the same left turn both by design and regulation.

What to do? A modest redesign of the Connecticut/Porter intersection, with little more than paint, could help if it would allow for cars wishing to make the left turn westbound on Porter to southbound Connecticut to queue, and allow those wishing to proceed due west on Porter to flow to their right. At the moment, there is hardly any queuing space. To obtain the queuing space, it would probably be necessary to surrender some of the parking spaces (not residentially zoned, and, as I recall it, not metered either) on the eastbound side of Porter, just east of Connecticut. I suspect that would pose a problem for the commuters who park there now, some of whom may be the shift workers at the nearby fire station. Nothing is simple or without tradeoffs.

Anyone want to comment on the possible redesign/engineering (with more than paint) of the intersection at Tilden and 34th as a means of providing some relief to the Connecticut & Porter problem? Or, Reno/34th at Porter, despite its own significant geometric challenges?


When Can You Run a Red Light
Rich "Rather Have Aggressive Drivers Any Day" Rothblum,

In the discussion of red light running and turning left at Connecticut and Porter, there seems to be some misunderstanding. In DC, as in most other places, once you are in an intersection, you have the right (and obligation) to leave the intersection, no matter what color the light is! So, if you are turning left, you may enter the intersection, wait for oncoming traffic to clear, then complete your turn, legally and safely, after the light has changed in favor of cross traffic. The caveat is that you may not enter the intersection unless it is apparent that you will be able to exit the intersection. That is, there are no cars in front of you that will block you, and no cars piled up in the intersecting road that you are turning into. You are "in" the intersection once you have crossed the first line of the crosswalk. So, if you do enter an intersection, don't be a jerk and sit there blocking pedestrians and cross traffic. Get out of there. And if you are going to be unable to get out of the intersection, please stay completely out of it so that pedestrians and other motorists can have their turn.


Excerpts from Councilmember Kathy Patterson's Candidacy Speech Councilmember
Kathy Patterson,

As I look ahead, I conclude that the financial threat the District faced four years ago has been supplanted by another kind of threat, and one that could bring us right back to the brink of bankruptcy. It's the threat of government paralysis.

Today we have appointed government and elected government, with few clear lines of responsibility. The control board can fire anyone in government, but is limited in its hiring power. We have a chief financial officer technically reporting to the mayor but only the control board can fire him. The police chief reports to a committee. The courts are trying to figure out the governance of the school system. As a legislator, I spend up to half of my time performing executive branch functions because there are so many vacuums - no chief real property officer, no one in charge of job training.

Like many of you, I welcomed the arrival of the chief management officer earlier this year. But given the U.S. Appeals Court ruling that the control board can assume power but cannot delegate that power, Camille Barnett's authority is questionable. The Home Rule Charter establishes a city administrator who reports to the mayor, a position left empty after Michael Rogers left last fall. We need one senior government administrator - not two, and we need that individual reporting to the mayor we elect this fall.

How do we put our government back together - to create an efficient, effective, responsible, and accountable government that can deliver on promises and deliver services?

For starters, we need a mayor who accepts it as his or her responsibility to pick up the pieces of government and put them back together, re-creating an executive branch that has clear lines of responsibility. We need a mayor who can propose and broker working relationships with the control board, with the board's chief management officer for as long as that position exists, with the Council, and with the Congress. We need a mayor who accepts the responsibility for leading the debate on what our government should look like in the years that follow the control board.... To rebuild the government, we need a Council that is a strong partner to the executive branch - a partner as often as possible and a critic as often as necessary. We need a legislature that builds on the record of oversight begun by the Government Operations Committee in the last two years. We need a Council that exercises the power it has because power is something you use, or lose.

And we need a control board that accepts its responsibility to strengthen local government. I have been a strong supporter of the control board. Its record in the financial realm is clear and positive, but the record on other issues is mixed. Serious questions remain about governance of the school system and the police department, in particular. Alice Rivlin has her work cut out for her in addressing the issues left untended by the existing control board.


Convention Center: Does Location Really Matter?
Evan Roth, (Disclaimer: I do not speak for my employer, nor does my employer speak for me.)

I'm not sure how I stand on the proposed MT. Vernon Square site for a new convention center, although so far I'm leaning against it, and for building it near Union Station -- that is, if we really need one. But I have a question for convention center experts: Where have other cities with successful convention centers put theirs? Are they all in downtown, near hotels and other amenities? Does a convention have to be downtown to be successful?

To partially answer my own question, it seems to me some are not very close to hotels etc. but are successful. For example, New York City's Javits Center is way over on the West Side, far from hotels and restaurants, but it seems to be doing pretty well (correct me, someone, if I'm wrong).


Thoughts From a Convention-Center User
Rob Pegoraro,

I've spent a fair amount of time in convention centers--Atlanta, D.C., L.A., Las Vegas and New York--covering various trade shows over the last three years, during which I've realized a thing or two about hotel proximity. Bottom line: It's not that big of a deal. Every show I've been to has featured a fairly efficient, reliable shuttle-bus system covering all the participating hotels. Taxis are never hard to find either--and they're a reimbursable expense, so who cares about the extra cost? (Hope my boss isn't reading this...)

Walking to a center, by contrast, generally involves lugging lots of PR junk around. That's OK if the walk is short enough, or if I'm in a place like Manhattan where it's fun to stroll around, but otherwise, it gets old quickly. (Furthermore, if your travel budget is tight, you'll usually *have* to stay somewhere outside the city center to avoid getting ripped off.)

So: To me, as long as a hotel is not more than 15 minutes' taxi ride from the convention center (and is not run by Intourist), it's more important that I stay close to where any friends or colleagues are camped out for the show. That makes a lot of other important things easier--meeting to swap notes, getting together for dinner or just sharing a cab to the next bogus reception.


Convention Center: Twisted sense of priorities
Mike Livingston,

As John Gloster, Statehood Party candidate for mayor, noted in his kickoff speech this weekend (while the media were out covering Jack Evans), if we have $X to spend on the Convention Center, we have $X we could be spending to fix our public schools. 'Nuff said!


Phew-- I'll try to be brief about the Convention Center!
Leslie Miles,

I will try to answer everyone's questions as briefly as possible, if Jeffrey will allow me the space.

Tom Berry: The contract, which is with Clark/Smoot, the biggest builder in the area (you see their signs all over town-- they are not on the verge of bankruptcy or preparing to flee to Brazil) is a firm fixed price contract. The builder is obligated to bring in the job at that price, and any overages that occur because he misestimated are his responsibility-- he has to eat them. That is how it works if you build a house, too. Even David Catania, the leading opponent on the Council, has been saying that the price will go up if we change the design. That would happen with your house, too, if you decided you had to have marble bathrooms after you told the builder you wanted tile. The time for design changes has passed-- the NCPC has acted, the community has been heard and satisfied, and we aren't planning any marble bathrooms. The price is set and that is it.

Jessica Vallette, and all your caps-- please keep in mind that no matter where you build the Center in DC, there will be a staging area. There will be a place for trucks to park, not idle, and then they will be sent on to the center where they will immediately drive into the building. I should note that an awful lot of folks live just off NY Ave too, and wonder why you aren't worried about them. Of course, I am not a supporter of air pollution. I have a toddler at home. But if you look at our current center-- I know you say you live in Shaw but as a Ward One resident you are nowhere near here-- you will see lots of trucks idling now, because we don't have the marshaling yard the new building will bring us. I believe the yard will make the air cleaner, not dirtier, and wonder why you envision future idling and can't see it on the street today.

As for the historic building near the site, no-one is proposing tearing anything down! Can't you folks give any of us supporters a little credit? I am a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. I live in a 107 year old house. I am Secretary of the Blagden Alley and Naylor Court Historical Association. I am a fanatic for the old and generally despise every new building in DC. But as you may have noticed when they built the Metro, it is not necessary to tear down buildings when you tunnel underground. And since the tunnel is proposed for under the street, I am really baffled by this one. Perhaps you think the historic Woodies Warehouse, on the toxic waste site at Northeast One, should be torn down to build the center there?

As for the restaurants, I repeat-- the restaurants in the city have volunteered to tax themselves to build this center. I am not worried about them because they want this, even though you don't, Jessica. I tend to give people credit for making their decisions about their own best interests without my help. Have the restaurants near you been duped by the greedy restaurateurs near downtown or something?

And Robert Meisnere-- the Northeast One site is NOT cheaper. It is only cheaper if you build the entire thing on one level, which will make it smaller than Mt Vernon Sq. The site is full of toxics that have not been analyzed-- we may have to dig down farther than at Mt Vernon Sq. just to clean it up! Jessica, where are you on this environmental issue-- CSX won't even let anyone assess the situation before the city is expected to buy the land, site/sight unseen. And I repeat, that site is too remote from anything to spur hotels and restaurants out there. Listen to the owners of the hotels and restaurants! They have said it loud and clear-- they won't be out at the Trailways bus station/ten block walk to Union Station site in our lifetimes. But if we continue the 7th St. Entertainment Corridor, there will finally be tourists walking from the Mall through downtown past retail, restaurants, etc and the money will be dropping out of their pockets all along the way. This is MY vision for DC-- bring the tourists into downtown, and bring back the light industrial that belongs at Northeast One. That is what it's zoned for, and that is what it should be, keeping good blue-collar jobs in DC.

As for size, keep this in mind. There is NO site in DC that would be the biggest center in America. We don't have to be biggest. We are losing literally billions of dollars, and it will get worse, if we don't get a center here that meets our market, like the American Booksellers Assn., which always used to be here. Those dollars mean good jobs, real high wages, real middle class family-supporting incomes. We will never host the International Tractor Convention. We don't need to. We need this Center, and before VA or MD get yet another one of our industries all locked up. Stop wasting time talking about a fantasy building set on a wasteland. Build the Center and start now.


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.






Landscaper/Gardener Recommendation
Elizabeth M Wulkan,

When I recommended my Landscaper/Gardener last week, I sent the wrong Email Address. Here is the correct address: Phillip Walker, Jr.,


Free Cooking Classes
Kathy Carroll,

Fresh Fields-Georgetown and International Gourmet sponsor four free cooking classes in June:

June 8 -- Bailiwick Inn Chef Jeff Prather: Marinated Quail Salad June 14 -- Asia Nora Executive Chef Christian Thornton: Spicy Indian Lamb June 22 -- Galileo Executive Chef Todd Gray: Rack of Cervena Venison June 29 -- Thyme Square Cafe Chef Todd Clark: Achiote Seared Poussin

Reservations required and can be made by e-mail (see above) or phone 333-5393. Class includes tasting.


Jewish Singles Party Sunday June 7, 1998
Michael Goldstein,

Meet 100's of Jewish Singles. The Society of Young Jewish Professionals- sponsors of the MATZO BALL, presents the BEACH 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 music, dancing, hors d'oeurves, door prizes, outdoor seating, valet parking, 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


Zoo Lecture
Margie Gibson,

Ann Vileisis and Tim Palmer collaborate on a lively presentation exploring rivers and wetlands, some of the United States' most valued resources. Join them as they share reflections on the status and future of our water and land.

Ms Vileisis, environmental historian and author of "Discovering the Unknown Landscape: A History of America's Wetlands," examines how politics, health, and attitudes toward these natural areas have changed. Mr. Palmer, author of "America by Rivers" and 12 other books, talks about the wonders and problems of America's rivers.

24 June. 7 p.m. Book signing & refreshments. 8 p.m. Lecture. 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


For Sale: A Lovely Townhome located on a quiet street in Towson, MD. Surrounded by mature trees on a level lot. The wood floors are stunning. Immaculate, clean & bright. New kitchen. Call Jay Marks at (H): 410-494-9511; W: 301-650-2400, ext. 121. Jon Katz,


For rent: Furnished basement efficiency in Glover Park. $550/mo. 202-337-4906; 328-1083. Edna Small,


Apartment Wanted
Barbara Menard,

Quiet professional seeking a 1-2 bedroom apartment in a house / townhouse in Mt. Pleasant, Adams Morgan, Dupont or upper Northwest. If anyone is seeking a new tenant or knows of a helpful Realtor who deals in rentals in DC, please contact me. I am looking to move in July 1 or August 1.


Help Wanted - Sales.

Rapidly growing Bethesda business-to-business marketing firm seeks phone sales rep. 1-2 years exp preferred. Near metro, good benefits. Fax resume to 301-907-4870 attn. Tammy Holly Eaton,


D.C. Condo For Sale.

Junior one bedroom condo on New Hampshire Ave. south of Dupont Circle. 8th Floor. Sunny, roofgarden with pool, 24-hour security/package/message desk, garage (not included), walk-thru closet. Low 60's. Great for grad students, and others beginning life in DC. Mahausman@JTSA.EDU or



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,


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


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