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June 17, 1998

Your Soggy Backfence

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Dear Neighbors:

This in my last announcement about the Garden Party. If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, I will either hold the dc.story party indoors or find a circus tent. Forget every note I have sent to you and read on. (I've changed the date again--please don't ask why but I'm really trying hard to make this work.)

The dc.story/ Garden Party will take place on TUESDAY, JUNE 23. Please send me an RSVP if you plan to attend--even if you have already sent me one. This is the only way I can contact you in case of cancellation. Just put Garden in the subject line. I am expecting some candidates to appear at the party-though, as you know, campaign scheduling is tricky.

Our get together takes place in the garden at Firehook Bakery (from 7:30 PM until 9:30 PM). Firehook offers coffee, pastries, salads, sandwiches, beer, and wine. Admission to the event is $5. 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 will also get you there.

But you know all this by now.

Steve Twomey ran a column in the Monday, June 8, Metro section of the Washington Post on Sarah Layton, a long-time DC area commuter and dc.story contributor, who's renewed hope and energy for this city led her to purchase a DC condo. The column focused on the fact that Layton's decision to finally buy and live in the city where she has worked ten years was based on the many things recently going well in Washington -- the financial officer, the MCI arena, the downtown business redevelopment district, the budget in the black, the new management officer, etc.

The origin of the column is interesting. While perusing the Washington Post web site a couple of weeks prior, Layton came across Twomey's column on Barry's announcement not to run. Tired of hearing and reading the negative stories on Washington, Layton fired off a quick, concise e-mail to Twomey, the gist of which was, "It's time to start using your column to inspire the people of DC to the potential that this city
holds. It is time to inspire people like [me] who have renewed hope and energy." She added that she was moving in to the city from the burbs because the city was at a launching point, and one person could be an
effective part of creating its future.

Twomey responded to her e-mail asking for more information, suggesting she'd make a good column as a sort of poster child for the scores of people who, like her, are moving in to DC on a tide of optimism about its future. An in-person interview days after her move followed a longer e-mail, and led to the column.

Cheers, Jeffrey Itell, June 3, 1998

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The Statehood Slatehood Party: One Office Short of a Full Load
Carl Bergman,

Heard of a non person? DC's Statehood Party has gone it one better. They've invented the non office. They've announced a 'full' slate for the general election, but it never mentions Hilda Mason or her Council at Large office. Statehood offers a candidate for Mayor, Council Chair, School Board, Congress, even a few ANC seats, but not a whisper about Council at Large. Why? Ms. Mason, whose frequent lapses are regularly reported is, sadly, an embarrassment to the party and to the city. She's running again, and is the only one seeking the statehood line.

Faced with the dilemma of an incompetent incumbent, and the desire to get attention with a full slate, the statehooders reached an easy solution. The just wished Hilda, seat and all, out of existence. In doing so, they've come down with a colossal case of political cowardice. Too afraid to challenge Mason, and too shortsighted to realize their party's one real seat is at stake, they decide to do it the old fashioned DC way. Do nothing and hope no one notices. A party without the compassion to end a series of public embarrassments in its own house, and so thick it can't see a threat to it's own interests, doesn't deserve anyone's vote for any office

Supercan Repairs
Marc Fisher,

Thrilled by the prospect of having my Supercan repaired--it's been without wheels or cover ever since the previous owners trashed it on their way out of town--I followed the advice of Brian Reeves and called DPW. Ah, were it so simple. Two different guys at that number insisted that the city has never once repaired a Supercan. They sent me to DPW at 645 7044, where a surly woman said "You can spend $62.50 on a new one and that's it." But someone did have their can repaired, I said. So she spit out another phone number (727 4600) and hung up with a bang. Now that's the DC government we know and love. That next number turned out to be something called the Sanitation Information Center, which is basically a maze of voice mail tapes that is virtually impossible to exit. The taped info also offers new Supercans, but no repair option. I eventually reached yet another sanitation office, where a slightly more civil person explained that "They don't have replacement parts at the current time, so no repair is possible." Ah, but perhaps they will get new parts at some future time? Not even close. "We haven't had replacement parts since I've been here, and that's a very long time." And then he hung up on me too.

Jonetta Rose Barras' Book
Cheryl Fox,

I'm very sorry that my offended you, Jonetta. Like I said, I haven't read your book yet, and I'm sure it's well researched and written as your work always is. I responded primarily to the MSNBC interview, in which -unfortunately-the interviewer asked you mainly about the portion of your book that addresses Barry's drug use and sexuality. My reaction was, "Give it a rest!" I don't see anything constructive about kicking the man when he's already gone. I hoped my message would motivate people to discuss the remaining pool of candidates, as well as your book, which I'm sure provides much more than salacious gossip.

New News
Sid Booth,

I wondered whether you or your readers were acquainted with The Common Denominator, a new weekly tabloid newspaper that I found on my Mt. Pleasant door step over the weekend. The first issue was 16 pages, which consisted of local government stories, both political and otherwise, and a smattering of local community stories. The articles were well written, the photos -- mainly by Oscar Abayta, a staff reporter -- were excellent. The local material was supplemented by syndicated columns by Ralph Nader and Jack Anderson, which I hope are merely filler until they can find better local fare.

All in all, I considered the first issue a worthy start and a welcome contribution to the local journalism scene. I wonder who's behind it. Are you or readers of dc.story acquainted with Kathryn M. Sinzinger, the editor and publisher? I'm not suspicious, merely curious.

D.C. and Y2K
Steph "Is that like R2D2?" Faul,

How will D.C. cope when we party like it's 1999? My driving license expires in 01, if that's any kind of a clue.

Year 2000 Information
Gabriel Goldberg,

The Year 2000 computer issue was mentioned in dc.story recently, obviously triggering yesterday's Post editorial on the subject. Many Web sites relate to Year 2000; a local one is which will soon become

Cellular Towers in Rock Creek Park
Ralph Blessing,

As suggested by Lindsley Williams in a recent posting, I sent the following letter to Adrienne Coleman, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park, to note my opposition to Bell Atlantic's proposal to construct cellular phone towers in Rock Creek Park. In addition to the photo from the Howard Law School described in first paragraph, I included one ("photo B") of an existing cellular tower alongside the Beltway to suggest the view we could expect if Bell Atlantic gets its way. All kindred spirits are encouraged to share their sentiments with Ms. Coleman at 3545 Williamsburg Lane NW, DC 20008.

Dear Superintendent Coleman:

I am enclosing two photos for your consideration as you evaluate Bell Atlantic's application for permission to build cellular phone towers in Rock Creek Park. Photo A is a view of the park looking northeast from the Howard Law School campus (on Upton Street) toward the proposed maintenance facility site. If you were to superimpose photo B onto that view, you would get an idea of what the Park would look like with the injection of such towers onto the landscape. The fact that the maintenance facility may already be
developed at ground level is no justification for marring the view from the tree tops.

Proponents of the cellular towers have couched their argument in terms of security, especially for bikers and joggers. Even in the unlikely event that a potential victim from one these groups would actually be carrying a cell phone, I would expect that more than 99% of cellular use in Rock Creek Park would still be the frivolous, non-emergency calls routinely made by commuters. If safety and security are truly the driving forces behind Bell Atlantic's application, ask them if they would be willing to make the investment their proposal involves if only 9-1-1 calls could be made within the Park. That, I think, should settle the issue.

What happened to capitalism?
Mike Livingston,

Ron Eberhardt writes, in reference to the convention center, "Government has a responsibility to do what is necessary to assure economic vitality." That's not in my copy of the Constitution -- on the contrary, I thought economic development in a capitalist society was the function, purpose and responsibility of the free market. But it was, after all, Dwayne Andreas -- zillionaire CEO of Archer Daniels Midland and a leading beneficiary of corporate welfare -- who said the U.S. is a socialist country and always has been. He should know.

Government actually does have a proper role in economic development, especially in the nation's capital: the federal government should require federal agencies to be headquartered in the District, and provide incentives for federal employees to live in the District. Federal procurement rules should strongly favor District businesses. And some of Jeffrey Gildenhorn's ideas merit our study and attention, like locally negotiable tax rebates (in essence, local currency backed by the value of tax revenue) and first-year tax breaks for new businesses signing long leases in the District. But the rationale for these ideas would be a democratic mandate from the people, not the thoroughly contrived and unfounded idea that government has a "responsibility" to play investment banker.

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.

Anthony "Tony" Williams Campaign
Marie Drissel,

The Ferrari just arrived at the Edsell race--or for the younger ones the Covair race and for the still younger the Pinto race. During Tony Williams speech to the real true draft committee in Southeast on June 1 we were taken for a ride from a political town hall meeting, to church, to the hospital bedside of a dying AIDS patient, to the bankrupt vendor who delivers vital care for the elderly but who has not received a payment in months, to a comedy center, to a computer nerd convention, to Wall Street, to the Wilson building under construction for the feds, and +back home to our neighborhoods. We will not demand respect but command respect. We are many diverse residents who are not looking for jobs but for a city that works. Mr. Williams had a theme during his moving speech to us--one government, good government, self government. Our draft committee has grown very large and I would love to send Colby King our resumes to refute his description that we are a small band of amateurs and activists. Alas, I do not have the time but our data base of amateurs and activists is being put up on Access 97 and we have hundreds.

If you would like to join the Band of Amateurs and Activists please call 588-9363--our first office next to the old Howard Theatre, 618 T Street. If you would like to support us, please send a check to Williams for Mayor, c/o Marie Drissel, Treasurer, 2135 Bancroft Place, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008. This address will change once we get the money to open a central office. We will have a web page which will describe the DC campaign and Federal Hatch Act regulations. The max contribution is $2000. Our web page will also detail the requirements for corporate contributions. Also, any contribution of furniture, supplies, equipment will require a full disclosure at market rate not to exceed the DC limits. The web page will be up shortly at If you have any specific campaign finance questions, call Michael Simpson on 939-8717. My number is 797-0832. Marie Drissel aka The Watchdog, The Bulldog, The Rottweiller according to Mayor Marion Barry.

Talk with Jim Graham: candidate Ward 1 City Council
Barbara Bode,

Peter Luciano & Tom Sams are hosting a Meet & Greet for Jim Graham on MONDAY June 22 from 6.30 - 8 p.m. at their home: 1744 Riggs Place NW, WDC 20009 (above 18th & R). Here's a chance to discuss health care availability and general delivery of services with someone who has been a leading service provider in our ward for nearly 20 years. If you can join us, please RSVP by sending me a quick message.


I need a house painter to do the outside trim, doors, etc. Any recommendations? I'm also looking for someone who can do a little bit of gardening -- weed-pulling, mulching, feeding -- in a very small patch of garden front and back of my townhouse. Cynthia Harrison

Environmental Law Institute Policy Seminar on Environmental Strategies In DC
Lisa Pelstring.

Tuesday, June 23, 1998, 12 noon to 2 p.m. at ELI's 7th Floor Conference Room, 1616 P Street, NW, Washington , DC RSVP: (202) 939-3858 Please join Ted Gordon (Deputy Director of Environmental Health Services for the DC Department of Health); Norris McDonald (President, African American Environmentalists Association); Neil Seldman (President, Institute for Local Self Reliance); and ELI Senior Attorney Suellen Keiner. Gordon will discuss his plans for revitalizing Environmental Health Services, McDonald will highlight results from his recent report, Our Unfair Share II - Pollution in Washington, DC, and Seldman will examine findings from his recent report on the District's solid waste and recycling program. Please bring a brown bag lunch. Speakers will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m.

Zoo Lecture: Exploring Rivers and Wetlands
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 1998. 7 p.m. book signing & refreshments. 8 p.m. lecture At 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

Also at the Zoo...Two traveling exhibits from Colombia open at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Colombia: A Botanical Expedition brings to life the Royal Botanical Expedition, which explored parts of Colombia in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The second, A Country of Three Seas, part of Colombia's contribution to the 1998 world's fair in Lisbon, documents the cultural and biological diversity of Colombia.

Travel Counselor/Apprentice
Patti Absher, (Great Travels)

Looking for a detail-oriented, people person with first-hand knowledge of Italy to work in a travel office on upper Connecticut Ave. Please email qualifications and salary expectations to Patti.

For Sale - Futon and Day Bed Barbara Menard,

Moving from my studio apartment and need to sell some furniture. Futon is cherry finish, great condition, 8 inch mattress with nice cover. Opens easily to double bed. Should be seen - great for guest room/study. Paid $450 - will sell for $250 OBO. Day Bed has nice wood frame with top-of-the-line twin mattress. Less than two years old, great condition. Paid $350 - will sell for $200 OBO. Prefer phone calls- I will not be at this e-mail address after Friday. Call and make an offer. For pick up in Cleveland Park (Quebec House). 202-966-8487.

Need Help With Your Computer Needs At Home Or In The Office? Nick Chang - (202.237.0130) PC hardware repairs and upgrades; hardware/software installation and upgrades; maintenance, troubleshooting and network support; Back-up and archive your files and email on CD-ROM; setup computer network for the small office; build customized database in Access or other programs; web training and web page development; application/Internet training; data recovery. Reasonable rates. Excellent references.

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

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

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