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July 26, 1998

Candidates Forum

dc.story is presented in association with Washington's News Station The *New* WTOP! Top News, Non-Stop ! WTOP is the radio station that doesn't make you wait. Traffic and Weather together every ten minutes on the eights. Sports every half hour at 15 and 45. Money News every half hour at 25 and 55. CBS News at the top of every hour. Plus, more regular coverage of the District, Congress, the White House and regional issues than any other radio station. 1500 AM or 107.7 FM.....whichever signal works best where you are !

Dear Neighbors: I didn't receive an overwhelming response to our first monthly dc.story forum and kibbitz fest. Indeed, the response was not even whelming. Maybe it's the August date. Maybe there's a lack of interest. Whatever the cause, I need to receive a larger email response to hold the event. So if you plan to attend, please send me an email message this week. Simple instructions for sending an RSVP are in the last paragraph below. On August 5, dc.story kicks off what we hope will be a monthly forum and get together on DC issues. The Georgetown Fresh Fields at 2323 Wisconsin Ave, NW (333-5393) has generously donated their space for these events. This free event takes place from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM. Free underground parking is available. Park on levels 2 and 3 for extended time. Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson will be the featured speaker. Patterson's talk will focus on her work chairing the city's Government Operations Committee, which oversees numerous agencies. Patterson has frequently contributed to dc.story and many readers have expressed interest in meeting her. Your suggestions for other speakers are being considered and, of course, more suggestions are welcome. Fresh Fields will offer food samples. Sample Odwalla juice -- as fresh as it gets! Sample other Fresh Fields tasties -- veggies and dip, organic pretzels and mustard, and their own wonderful bread dipping oil with organic baguettes. Keep in mind that these are just samples, so quantity is limited -- please come early! Complete dinners are available for purchase in the prepared food section. Please send an email message to with the word "fresh" in the subject line. Jeffrey Itell July 26, 1998

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At Large . . . But Not Dangerous
Carl Bergman,

Those of you who were dumfounded at the prospect of wading through a fat, bloated At Large ballot can rest easy. By dint of the District's clever method for weeding out the frivolous, petitions, we no longer face an obese 14 name ballot, but a svelte, crisp ballot of 12. Shortly after certifying the lucky dozen, the Board then held its ballot position lottery. Given the large number of unknowns and barely knowns, ballot position can be critical. The big winner, garnering top spot - Phil Mendelson. Arrington Dixon, Don Reeves, and Bill Rice also made the top half, pulling the third, fourth and fifth slots. You can see how all races stack up at the Board's site: . If you want to see them, attend, what may be the only At Large forum is next Tuesday at SW's Christ United Methodist Church. See DC Events for details. In prior post's, I've taken aim at the Statehood Party's failure to put forward a viable candidate for Hilda Mason's seat. According to City Paper's Loose Lips, I'm just not clued in, and neither are you. See According to the story Hilda wanted to call it quits, but the party couldn't find anyone to run. Here's what they plan according to LL, "1) Mason somehow wins election to her sixth council term. 2) a month or so into her term, she steps down. 3) the Statehood Party convenes to select someone to serve the four-month period until a special election is held to choose a permanent replacement. 4) the temporary replacement runs in the special election as the incumbent." There is a name for people who try and sneak into office on deals like this: unemployed. The DC Statehood party once had a firm grasp on the city's destiny. It held a high moral ground on self-determination. It's become a clique determined to hold its small piece of power. It deserves neither to succeed at the ballot box, nor to be taken seriously.

Mixing Apples And Oranges
Helen M. Kramer,

Nike Keenan criticized Jack Evans' positions on tax issues as inconsistent. However, Councilmember Evans' support for higher tax rates on vacant and abandoned properties is consistent with supporting a single tax rate for commercial properties, if you know what the current tax structure is. There are currently five tax rates on real estate: two rates for residential, two rates for commercial properties, and a maximum rate of 5% for vacant properties. A lower rate for hotels was introduced in 1986 when hotel development was lagging. This is not the case today. The economic rationale behind a single tax rate for commercial properties is to eliminate distortions in investment and to restore the District to a competitive position with the suburbs. Maryland and Virginia have a single, lower rate on commercial properties. In other words, given the current structure of taxes, it is logically consistent to support a higher rate on vacant properties, but a single rate for commercial properties.

Washington Interfaith Network and Mayoral Candidates
David S. Reed,

Ron Eberhardt's posting in the last DC Story reports very disturbing dealings between the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) and several Democrat candidates for Mayor. He reports that Anthony Williams, Jack Evans and Harold Brazil all committed to provide WIN with free land and $25 Million in public subsidy to build homes for resale, and to allocate $3 Million from DC funds to support 10 WIN after-school programs. A candidate who commits to provide a particular organization with large grants of taxpayers' money and land, without respecting the laws and procedures for selecting among competing grant proposals, is engaging in corruption before he even wins office.

Throwing Democracy In the Trash
Mike Livingston,, Green Party candidate for Shadow U.S. Representative

Citizens who care about freedom of political expression should be on the lookout for the following individuals, who were sighted in the vicinity of 2nd & C Streets SE around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, destroying lawfully posted signs expressing a registered political organization's position on the convention center. One, a white male probably around 40 years old, had a shaved head; approx. 6', heavy build, wearing a yellow button-down shirt and (notably) an Anthony Williams for Mayor sticker. The other, also a white male probably around 40, had dark brown hair and a thin beard; approx. 5'6", slim build. I saw the first man tearing down several of the Shaw Coalition's "white elephant" signs and putting them in a trash can; I confronted him, objecting to the destruction of lawful and constitutionally protected political signage, and Green Party activist Karen Szulgit joined me and the second man joined the first. The two men argued that they were "cleaning up our city" and called the signs "litter" (and called *us* litter as well). Regrettably, all four of us raised our voices and engaged in at least as much grandstanding as dialogue. Nevertheless _ regardless of one's opinion of the convention center, on which good citizens may disagree _ the vandalism of legal political signage cannot be tolerated, and a society in which it is tolerated cannot claim to be a democracy. (And yes, I would object just as vocally to the destruction of signs in favor of the convention center.) Sure, there's too much political signage on our streets _ it's a huge waste of paper, and it's an eyesore. Those are some of the prices we pay for the First Amendment, and it's worth it. I implore everyone who cares about anything in our city to confront acts of political vandalism, to make it clear that such conduct has no place in civilized society, and to remind perpetrators that it is a crime against the political process (not to mention the duly registered publishers of the material being vandalized). I implore Tony Williams and his supporters to make sure the Williams campaign organization is not conducting or tolerating activities of this nature. (Williams volunteers who witnessed the incident did say they had never seen these people before.) And I especially implore any citizens who catch these particular people in the act to try to get their names, because they owe damages to the Shaw Coalition (of which, incidentally, I am not a member). ---- I asked their names, and they didn't give them -- they just kept saying things like "we're cleaning up our city" -- and they said they were just citizens, i.e., not working for Williams, and that they were tearing down "_all_ the signs," meaning every candidate's political signs. They professed to be reacting to the blight of campaign signage in general, but they did have armloads of Shaw Coalition signs and nobody else's. The Williams campaign people who witnessed all this volunteered the fact that they did not know the perpetrators. If I'd gotten their names, I would have reported them to the Shaw Coalition and the Board of Elections & Ethics instead of submitting their descriptions to dc.story.

Parking Unenforcement
Mike Wilkinson,

Church-goers also double park at many churches in the U Street/Shaw/Logan areas. Where else are they going to park, though?

Parking Unenforcement response
Paul K. Williams,

Sharon Cochran posted about double parking by Church goers that goes unticketed by Police in Staunton and Lincoln Park Areas; we have the same chronic problem here in U Street/Logan area, especially along Vermont Avenue btw R & S. A fire truck would never have a chance to fit through from early Sunday morning until the late afternoon, during Wednesday night, or during mid-week funerals (sounds like a potential liability issue to me; are you there, city lawyers?). The most hazardous are the last remaining cars that end up parked in the median or in the middle lane long after all their neighboring cars have left. Never a ticket on one. Same goes for our Masonic lodge members at 10th and U, who can and do park freely any given evening wherever they will fit, without ever being towed or ticketed. Of course when I'm parked on the street-sweeping side after the machine has been through (ah, the good old days) 5 minutes to 11 am, I get a ticket. Who says I don't have a car-loving religious group inside my house worshipping street sweepers? Why do the churches and the masons get preferential treatment when others don't?

The Prostitution Law
Leslie Miles,

I am quite familiar with the DC law and am in fact a lawyer. The element of "prostitution" requires a financial transaction. It is NOT satisfied by mere solicitation. You can walk down the street and ask anyone you meet to have sex with you and that is not a crime under DC law (until the new emergency law). Money has to be involved. It also has to be witnessed, thus requiring the undercover work. If you don't believe me, check with the police. By the way, I don't think that an occasional drive through the Logan Circle area gives commuters and non-residents any clue about what life here is like. The hookers/johns move every night. They are smarter than you think. But this neighborhood always is their favorite venue. They are "here" constantly. The cars circle constantly. You can literally count 300 an hour at 3 am, often the same vehicles. This is not about NIMBYish homeowners, as one writer suggested. I don't think criminal activity should be compared to other so- called nuisances that are a public benefit that falls disproportionately on one area or community. You come down here and tell us how long it would take til you moved to the suburbs.

Statement by Sam Smith Editor of the Progressive Review,

I returned home early today to find my driveway blocked by an upscale, late-model vehicle belonging to colonial aparatchik Oliver Cromwell -- in the company of junta overseer Camille Cates Barnett, Ph.D. Mr. Cromwell offered neither explanation nor apology for having blocked my driveway and seemed to regard it as a fine joke. Given that worthy citizens are being dragged off in handcuffs for merely forgetting their driver's license and poor suburban commuters are being hit with exorbitant fines for the supposed sin of increasing the capacity of Virginia bound cars, it does seem reasonable that our colonial administrators be similarly required to obey the traffic laws of the city. I recommended to Mr. Cromwell the precedent of Mayor Walter Washington who refused to let his driver park illegally. But then, Mayor Washington was elected by the people of the city and, unlike our present overlords, felt some need to show respect for the laws and the people whose city he served.

Neighbors (and dc.story) Save U St. Buildings!
Paul Williams,

Just a notice that the efforts by the Cardozo Shaw Neighborhood Association (along with 83 Emails of support, mostly from DC:Story subscribers last fall) to counter a demolition permit for the apartment building at 1330 U Street resulted in a historic designation yesterday at the Hist Pres Review Bd Meeting. I presented historic testimony on the structure (built 1904) and its role in the significant African American corridor, but the clincher was the massive support we received and were able to present to the Board. Owner Marvin Jawer has canceled his demo permit (submitted last Sept 19; our landmark application submitted Sept 22) and now has architect Eric Colbert working on a renovation scheme for the building, to convert it to retail. That preliminary plan was presented literally minutes after the buildings was declared historic. That's the good news; the bad news is that the designated tenant is Papa John's Pizza. But alas, tenants come and go, but we still will have the building contributing to the unique corridor that is U Street. I know others in the neighborhood would like to fight Papa John's; another fast food outlet in a pizza swamped block; any advise from readers?

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.

Coalition Holds Mayoral, At Large Forum
Carl Bergman,

A non-partisan coalition of a dozen organizations "Making Our Votes Count for a Better City" is holding forums for both the Mayoral and At Large Council races at the Christ United Methodist Church, 900 Fourth St. SW. the Mayoral is Tuesday, July 28, 1998 at 7:00 PM. The At Large Forum, Tuesday, July 21, 1998 at 7:00 PM. The Forum is administered by the League of Women Voters Educational Fund. The coalition's members include: DC's AARP, AAUW, the DC Civic and citizens Associations, the Urban League,

Compagnons de la Parole Francaise Aysegul Acar, "Les Compagnons De La Parole Francaise" is a diverse, social, fun, international group that has been meeting for a happy-hour in French every Thursday from 5:30 until 7pm in Washington DC since 1967.. After the happy hour we usually go to dinner. We also organize parties, picnics, hiking, camping trips etc. The happy hour is held near the GWU campus. For directions and detailed information etc. please contact Aysegul at Only French is allowed at the meetings We also have an e-mail list for our activities, announcements, etc. We will have a potluck-pool party this Saturday, July 25th in McLean, Virginia from 8 pm until 12 midnight.. For Sale: Redskins tickets Horace Howells, I am selling preseason tickets to the Redskins 8/2 vs. Miami and 8/22 vs. New England. I have four in the upper deck in the 8th row at the 50 and two in the lower level row 14 at about the 10. They are $55/$60 face value respectively. As extra incentive, I will make a group mailing to all purchasers listing available regular season games (also at face value). Please email before 8/2 if you are interested.

Unfortunately, our wonderful childcare provider is leaving. Thus, we are searching for an energetic and loving nanny to play with and take care of our two year old daughter. We live off Massachusetts Ave right over the DC line. We would consider sharing with another family. We would prefer someone who could drive. We need someone who is legal. Forrest Maltzman,

Design/Build/Carpentry: 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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Kibitzing by Jeffrey Itell. Copyright (c) 1998. All rights reserved.

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