Where the Civil War Never Ends
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Dear Neighbors: Are you receiving unwanted email messages from The Party List, sent by Lak Vohra, Editor & Publisher? Are you having difficulty getting off his list? Please send me a message if you are. ---- For the record, I referred to the South, not Southerners (In my mind, that's a difference), I'm well aware that Maryland lies South of the Mason-Dixon line and that the North wasn't a paragon of civil-rights virtue, and concede that my revulsion from seeing Gone With the Wind led to my vulgar "stick it in their eye" comment. (Good observation Lorie). Nevertheless, I am still convinced that we should name a grand street after Lincoln and that Grant has not received his due. That others are worthy of commemoration is not relevant to my argument. Jeffrey Itell July 14, 1998
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I am writing in the hopes of spurring some debate on the At-large race. Since the mayoral campaign is taking up so much of the scant coverage in the press it has been difficult to get any information on the at-large candidates. Other than the apparently washed-up Arington Dixon, the only name that seems to stand out in the Democratic primary is that of Phil Mendelson whose record and accomplishments as a concerned citizen, legislative aide, and elected official are well known beginning in the 1970's. From talking to friends I understand Mendelson is generally considered to be the most engaged and knowledgeable of the current crop of candidates and I've seen him at numerous local events. He also seems to have raised the most money. Where are the other candidates?
Sealing Off The Streets Or How To Tell An Election Is Coming.
Jack Evans is apparently trying to secure his new job on the most important issue facing the District, the plague of prostitutes. Friday Night I was downtown and trying to go home. Massachusetts avenue was packed tighter then rush hour courtesy of DC's Blue Suiters sealing off every street into Shaw. I must have seen 20 uniformed officers with squad cars parked in traffic lanes, sitting around chewing gum and drawing over time. Now I realize the folks in Shaw have a tough time, with the cruisers and street walkers, but this seems like a hideous waste of police resources, when 3 people were murdered that same weekend. I also resented being stuck in traffic for 20 minutes because Jack Evans is campaigning. The Police did not bother directing traffic, or reprogramming the signals. The result was chaos. As all the clubs emptied out on F street, the city gridlocked. Is anyone bothered the Police were on a silly exercise like this? Is anyone bothered by silly election posturing? Shouldn't DC create a preferred red light district, such as L'Enfant plaza or south of Union station? Is there a plague of prostitution? Is this linked to Barry retiring, and these ladies all needing new customers?
Jeff, you've stirred up regional animosities and will lose the rest of your friends. However, let me suggest that I as a Southerner I too favor naming streets and buildings after the victors. I suggest that Georgia Ave. be renamed Jubal Early Blvd. (as he came part way down it intending to burn the Capitol) and the confederate cemetery on Ga. Ave. be renamed Victors' Rest. You obviously didn't do much reading of history if you don't know that the south won the Civil War. The Civil War was fought over slavery and slavery did not end in 1864 but instead in 1964 (or thereabouts). The legal basis of slavery was settled on the battlefields, but not its substance in Southern society, economy and the "justice" system. As soon as the Union Army and the carpetbaggers packed up and left, the totally unreconstructed South declared slavery throughout the old Confederacy, albeit wage slavery. They used the segregation, miscegenation and registration laws to subject Blacks to a wage slavery almost as abject as the legal version for nearly another hundred years. In fact, they extended it to brown, yellow and red people and threw in Catholics and Jews, if they could find any, just to be sure that no tainted blood got into the body politic or the body of southern belles. So why keep naming buildings and streets after people who after winning on the battlefield lost the war for lack courage to continue the struggle to the ultimate victory. Lets name stuff after the doggedly determined Southerners who continued slavery in the South until well into our lifetimes (well, yours and mine anyway).
I'm just as put off as Jeff by the use of tax dollars to name things after Confederate traitors. The great irony is that some of Congress' most outspoken manipulators of the American flag as partisan political symbol go back home and promote flying the stars and bars, flag of the greatest threat ever to the United States. Having said that, I think Jeff's anti-Southern arguments ignore a key fact about Washington: Just like Virginia and Maryland, this is the South. There was slavery here. There was Jim Crowe here. Lincoln imposed martial law in Maryland to keep them in the Union, because if they'd gone, D.C. would have suddenly found itself in the Confederacy. After the New Deal and the Great Society, most of our local cultural elites were northern migrants to the modern government. My parents are New Yorkers, and though I'm a Washingtonian I feel no connection to the South. Yet as much as I'd like to ignore the distinction, there's no way D.C. is a northern city. Making fun of Virginian Southerners doesn't make our town--with its lack of white ethnics, with its absence of an industrial economy, with its segregationist history and with its large population that still speaks Southern and still goes to family reunions in North Carolina--any less part of the South. Renaming things to the glory of the Union also has rather a checkered history on this side of the Potomac. A lot of the black schools were named for white abolitionists. Those names are thus now conflated with our local history of racist, inadequate education. Other grand Yankee symbols have simply faded into obscurity, as evidenced by Mr. Bouton's posting: Sherman Ave., for instance, _already exists_. It is a very broad street just west of of Georgia Ave. Further up that way lie two big, beautiful public circles named for Grant and Sherman. There was nothing wrong with naming them for those national heroes. Lets just not think it changed anything--"stick in the eye" or otherwise.
Renaming Dulles Airport
IMHO, renaming Dulles Airport in honor of a Union General (e.g., Grant) is a fine idea. So is renaming 16th Street in honor of President Lincoln. But your dissing the South borders on poor taste. If you'd like to get a bit of insight into why Southerners venerate their Civil War heroes, read Confederates in the Attic, a very good book by Washington native Tony Horwitz (now himself apparently a resident of Virginia). Or, better yet, go across the river and visit some of the places where the war was fought. (But take your passport or you might be turned back.) #:-)
Wow you sure took a lot of heat for getting stuck in the eye on Jeff Davis Highway. I realize you and many democraticos object to the renaming of Washington National Airport to Reagan National Airport, but I think we should do more! I hereby propose the following name changes to honor the man who was by far the greatest president of the early 1980's, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Rename the Washington National Cathedral the Reagan National Cathedral The National Gallery of Art should become the Reagan National Gallery of Art Change the title of the movie National Velvet to Reagan National Velvet Rename the John Wilson Building the Ronald Reagan Wilson Building. (Not to be confused with the Ronald Wilson Reagan Building next door.) Rename U.S. Route 40 "National Pike" to the Reagan National Pike. Change Baseball's motto from the National Pastime to the Reagan National Pastime See kids, it's fun to be a congressman in the majority! Play this at home to see what other new monikers can be applied to honor our "Great Communicator."
A note in the last edition suggests that Union Station is in some way a Civil War memorial, named perhaps for the Union troops that protected the city during the War. Very droll. Union Station is so named because it was not built by and for one particular railroad line -- like Penn Station in New York, which was the main station of the Pennsylvania Railroad System -- but by a pair of them, specifically the Penn and the B&O. Hence, a "union" station. A quick search of the National Railroad Museum web site (http://www.nationalrrmuseum.org) finds Union Stations in cities throughout former Confederacy, including Memphis, Nashville, Lexington KY, and Atlanta.
Civil War Heroes
I read with interest people's different interpretations of commemoration of Civil War heroes in the District. Preservation of the sight line to Lee's plantation home in Arlington Cemetery via Memorial Bridge is one tremendous recognition that people seem to have forgotten (recognized even by this Yankee-bred Washingtonian). I especially like the fact that it connects Lincoln's memorial with Lee's home. Re Sam Hodges posting, lest anyone get the wrong idea, Union Station is called that not after the Army, but because it unified train stations that had been scattered over the Mall and downtown into one facility. Part of the Senate Parks Commission Plan, about 1900, see the model at the National Building Museum. "Union Stations" in other cities were named so for a similar reason (Chicago, Los Angeles).
Kudos to You
Congratulations to Jeff, who has successfully generated the influx of opinions via submissions that he has often pleaded for! (No lurkers here!) His topic of pre-newsetter preamble was well-chosen, striking at the very thing that those outside of the US might expect to be found in all those who reside in this Capital City, patriotism. I look forward to the upcoming, "motiv"ated discussions that he will inspire_or should that be instigate_about other important DC issues, especially as I get ready to vote in my first DC election.
Disaster Drill Scheduled for Rosh Hashanah
A friend just pointed out to me a story I missed in the Post (7/2/98) headlined "Major Disaster Drill Planned for DC Area". It seems that, subsequent to the scare last year with the fake anthrax package left outside B'nai B'rith, the District is planning the largest disaster drill ever. The date they have picked is September 22, which is the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The article is available free until July 16 on washingtonpost.com. Everyone who lives in the DC metropolitan area is vulnerable to terrorist attacks of this type, but it stands to reason that if a terrorist selects a target, Jewish institutions will be high on the list. Indeed, the drill itself was inspired by a potential attack on a Jewish institution. Yet holding the drill on the second day of Rosh Hashanah excludes the vast majority of Jewish institutions from this emergency exercise. We are contacting local synagogues and City Council offices to see if this exercise can be rescheduled. Any good contacts or suggestions for further actions would be greatly appreciated.
No Woman, Yes Cry
Like Phil Greene, I don't escrow my taxes and insurance, mainly 'cause it saved me mucho dinero when I refinanced. But unlike Phil, I wasn't--or I vociferously contend that I wasn't--a day late paying my first-half real estate. And most importantly unlike Phil, I haven't heard ANYTHING since my April 6 filing of a request for a waiver of penalty and interest, a/k/a P&I. So if it took Phil almost four months to hear from the Real Property Tax Unit--my most frequently dialed number, BTW--I oughta hear SOMETHING in early August--right before our efficient, effective government mails its second-half RE tax bill. I wannabe like Phil.
I have yet another gripe to add to the list of many against DC police. Several months ago, I was involved in a hit and run car accident. A witness called the police so that they could come take a report. So I waited over 30 minutes in the pouring rain for them to show- which they never did. Then I called the police (non-emergency number) to report the accident over the phone- they said they would have to call me back. They did call-two hours later. Finally, I was able to give an account of the accident. Two months later, I receive the police statement. I am told that two months is actually very quick, and that most reports take six months. However, I am sure the constant hounding from my insurance company helped speed the process along. A month after that, I receive a letter notifying me that my report had been forwarded to the hit and run unit. I haven't heard anything since and don't expect to. After all, this is the unit that addressed me as Mr. Holly Olson in their letter to me.
Quality of Life Through Public Works
I am personally committed to improving the public works infrastructure situation in DC. If any of you would like to turn the energy level evidenced in your recent postings into real results, I hope you'll contact me. But at this stage I need expertise and a willingness to do some work rather than a listing of failures of the DPW. Having just moved into the District after 11 years of commuting, I have been identifying groups and activities seeking to address the District's infrastructure challenges so that I can plug myself in where I'll be most effective. Some things you should know..... There is work underway by a group stormwater experts to make recommendations on how the District can solve its combined sewer overflow problems and separate storm sewer runoff, as well as address the subsequent impact on the Anacostia River. A recent meeting of regional transportation experts resulted in recommendations to divide the street maintenance workload by having the federal government take responsibility for maintaining major thoroughfares (contracting out the actual work) and allowing DPW to concentrate on other streets and roads. Please note that in many municipalities certain key roads are maintained by the state. On the issue of street cuts by telecommunications companies.... this is not something unique to the District. The new telecommunications law and the exploding telecommunications industry have led to a nightmare problem of streets being continuously cut open and repaved. Some management tools have been developed in other cities which could be applied in the District. And to the person who wondered... Camille Barnett is indeed involved in seeking to restore public works services, as are other of our leaders. It is a huge task, but its impact on quality of life means it is a task that requires tackling.
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Jewish Singles Party Sunday July 19, 1998
The Society of Young Jewish Professionals- sponsors of the Matzo Ball,
presents the Summer Sizzler at Tel-Aviv Cafe, located at 4867 Cordell Ave, Bethesda, MD.
Doors open at 8pm. For directions call
Free for pickup. Laser toner cartridge for Texas Instrument printer. One box of "OPC Drum" and one box of "Developer cartridge." I'd like to donate these to a nonprofit organization, or to an individual involved in community volunteering work. Upper northwest DC location. Also, if there are any community organizations out there who could use a pair of computer speakers, please send me an email message. I have a couple pairs of computer speakers to pass along to nonprofit community organizations.
Apartment for Rent
For rent: 1 September. One bedroom apartment on Capitol Hill, near 7th and Independence SE. Furnished or unfurnished. $850 furnished/$790 unfurnished. Excludes phone and electricity. Includes gas, water, cable TV (with many movie channels), ADT security system. Berber carpet. Completely renovated recently. Furnished includes pots & pans, linens, towels, microwave, TV/vcr; appropriate for visiting scholar/researcher in DC area. No smokers. No cats, dogs okay. 2 blocks to Eastern Market Metro. 1/2 block to Eastern Market. 1/2 block to the Natatorium, the public swimming pool. Short walk to Library of Congress, Folger Shakespeare Library, the Mall. tel: 202--543-3015, fax: 202--675-0313
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