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August 26, 1998

You Really Like Them

You really like them, August 26, 1998

Dear Correspondents:

The readers of themail have spoken out loud and clear. You like the classifieds, you really like them. No one wrote a word against them. Therefore, I’ll impose only one restriction: a commercial classified (you know who you are) will run no more than once a month, and must be resubmitted each time it runs. A few people favored separate mailings of classifieds, but more people wanted them in the same mailing, so here is where they’ll stay, unless there are too many.

The other subject on which you spoke out was Bill Clinton — people who like Clinton want him to be declared off-limits as a topic of conversation. Since nobody wrote anything more about Clinton, the friends of Bill get their way in this President-free issue of themail. The other topic that inspired resounding silence was the race for at-large councilmembers. Nobody cared enough about any of the candidates to write anything supportive or adverse. So, candidates, it’s up to you. Those of you who are out there, praise yourselves in the next issue. Sway the undecided, in two paragraphs or less.

Now, for what is here — comments on the mayoral candidates, Jeff Itell stirring up what is sure to be a good controversy over rent control, another take on UDC, Stephanie Faul on a collector’s edition of the Washington Post, and a lot of meaty local news and questions about what’s going on around town. And plenty of classifieds.

Gary Imhoff,


Mayoral Contenders
Sharon Cochran,

As a former Ward 7 voter and neighbor of Kevin Chavous, I must warn those folks who are thinking about voting for him. The man is a empty suit. He will do nothing. He talks nice and will say whatever you want to hear but does not show up for work.

If asked why he did not attend 80% of the City Council meetings, he will say that he showed up for the important ones. I don’t think that I’m the only one that thinks that EVERY day should be important for the City Council. My current Councilwoman (Ambrose) certainly seems to think so.


Cinderella’s Sisters
Ed T. Barron,

Anthony Williams’ opponents on the City Council in the Democratic Primary for the Mayoral election are acting just like Cinderella’s sisters. They are carping and moaning about the "outsider" Williams and that Williams is now supported by some of Barry’s closest advisers. The other candidates have somehow forgotten that Williams is the only candidate with a performance track record that merits real consideration as a Mayoral candidate.

Perhaps even outgoing Mayor Barry will give Williams his endorsement. That doesn’t make either Williams or Barry bad persons. It does show some real sense on Barry’s part to do what may be the best for the District. Support from Barry would help the next mayor in being a Mayor for all the Wards and should be welcomed by Tony Williams. One thing is for certain, A Barry endorsement of Williams would surely bring on another bout of sissyfits from Cinderellas’ not so beautiful sisters in this campaign.


Prehistoric Housing Policies
Jeffrey Itell,

Ok, so like what’s the deal with Rent Control in DC? It’s the third-wire issue of DC politics. Touch the rail and you end up in position number 142 on the election ballot. Dammit, in this Robin-Hood City, we pride ourselves on taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Yet rent control has the opposite effect, squeezing the market, creating housing scarcity, driving up non-controlled rents, and subsidizing folks based on longevity rather than need. Besides, I am still pissed that in New York grad-school days, I scoured the obituaries for 18 months before finding a place to live. There is no reason to go cold turkey on rent control; I would hate to see the elderly competing with the homeless for spare change. Nevertheless, it sure would be swell if DC’s candidates — save Harold Brazil — faced up to reality and debated the issue. Rent control, wherever it existed, is going the way of the dinosaur. But we continue to live in Jurassic Park.

BTW: Writing diatribes is a lot more fun than editing the newsletter. I can be even crankier this way.


A Matter of Principals
Ed T. Barron,

Ms. Ackerman recently terminated a whole bunch of school principals on the basis of their, and their students’ performance. It is likely that some percentage of those principals were deserving of their fate. It is also likely that some percentage of those principals have been operating with one hand and perhaps both hands, tied behind their back and did not deserve to be fired.

All the principals are handicapped in that they cannot easily, in a timely or cost effective manner, get rid of non-performing teachers in the classrooms. The union rules and contracts make it almost impossible to get rid of poor performing teachers. Until the principals are given the authority and responsibility to replace poor performing teachers, the schools will not see any major improvements in student performance. The charter schools are the only opportunity for some of our students to escape poor teachers and to get the education they deserve and that we are paying for.


Mike Hill,

Responding to Ed Barron’s last posting, I think the mission of UDC is fine. The execution of the mission is lacking. I believe that UDC offers the kind of remedial and basic training courses that you suggest, as do other local institutions like NOVA, Montgomery College, Strayer College, etc. There are also remedial courses and certificate programs offered at most of the large universities in the area. The question is, why would these courses be any easier to teach and administrate well than other, more complicated courses of study? The basic logistics of organizing a class, setting up goals for teachers and students, administering a school structure, etc. are the much the same. And why would we make providing remedial help the mission of a university? We already have several adult education centers in DC. It seems to me that sort of mission says that the school system K - 12 will never be able to do its job.

Changing the mission of a major institution is a tricky business, especially if you are lowering your sights. A mission statement has very real impacts on faculty recruitment, student recruitment, fundraising, and accreditation. It will be very difficult for UDC to ever live up to it’s potential if it becomes a the institution you describe, which sound like something less than even a junior college. And isn’t it about time someone asked students what they think should be done? the changes you are suggesting could significantly devalue degrees already awarded to students who are out in the world, trying to work and get into grad school.


Vouchers again
Kathy Carroll,

I think Ed T. Barron is a very thoughtful advocate for vouchers and charter schools and although I don’t often agree with him (and don’t this time) I always enjoy reading his postings. That being said, the union issue is an interesting twist. However, I currently work for a non-union company in an otherwise unionized industry. I can tell you how hard the union is trying to organize our employees — both legally and illegally.

It won’t be long before the union follows the tax money to private schools. It will be illegal to keep them out once the schools receive public funds. The teachers will organize and this issue will be moot. But it was a nice try.


Prostitution — Keeping the thread going
Art Spitzer,

Dear Mr. Wellander: Thanks for your cogent demonstration of how Leslie Miles has abandoned her earlier incorrect statements on DC prostitution law, even though she refuses to admit it. I’m delighted to see that some people are careful readers.


Deja Vu All Over Again
Steph "Deja Vu All Over Again" Faul,

This time of year, the height of the "silly season," the Washington Post becomes dry and flavorless, able to be read completely in less than 15 minutes. Today (Monday), I glanced at the front page — nothing remarkable on it, just the usual headlines about emotive buildings and sentient geography ("White House Angry Over Leaks," "Capitol Hill Looks For Clues"). I began peeling back the layers: Style, Business… whoops! Another front page! Marked "Final." Puzzled, I investigated further: the rest of the section seemed to be Metro, onto the front of which someone had accidentally pasted page A-1.

So who else got this mutant paper? Is it, like, y’know, a collector’s item, worth hundreds of bucks when Donald Graham tries to buy them all back? Are heads gonna roll? What *was* on the front page of Metro, anyway? And is this yet another example of how supposedly "local" media concentrate only on national issues?


Update on DC Stormwater Management Plans
Sarah Layton,

Camille Barnett has tasked a group of experts in stormwater management to make recommendations about how the District should proceed with its stormwater program. The city should have gotten a permit some time ago, but is just now working through the requirements. Barnett has been working with the Water and Sewer Authority, the Department of Public Works, and the US Environmental Protection Agency to get the appropriate permit applications in the works.

The volunteer group doing pro bono work is forming recommendations on which DC agency should have primary responsibility for the program and how it should be financed. It’s going to be tough for the District to finance the program through a user fee since the feds own 42% of District land. (When Cincinnati tried to assess a stormwater user fee on a federal facility, it was deemed by the courts to be a tax, which is illegal. Ironic given that Cincinnati was simply trying to comply with a federal regulation.) The District itself exempts 15% of property for such institutions as universities, churches and schools. The DC group may recommend negotiating with the White House for a voluntary federal payment to cover the federal buildings’ contributions to stormwater runoff so that we don’t end up in a situation where the property owners of 43% of the land pay for 100% of stormwater management.


Tax Bill Question
Nick Keenan,

Well, I got my home property tax bill this week. I also got the tax bill for the previous owners. And the owners before that. I figure I’ll just pay the one with my name on it and send the rest back. Anybody else see anything like this? It seems real weird, especially since it’s not like my house has flipped twice in the same year or anything — the two-ago owners were here back when Travolta was a star the first time. Any thoughts?


What’s Up with Cineplex Odeon
Dan Parker,

Cineplex Odeon has closed the Embassy Theater (Florida and 20th NW) with no fanfare or announcements. Not that Cineplex Odeon has ever been any type of leader in customer service. The adjacent building is being renovated by the Cafritz Companies (their lack of vision may merit a separate missive).

To their credit, Cineplex Odeon did begin programming the Embassy with "alternative" fare, apparently with some success judging from the crowds. The remaining downtown movie halls (most of them Cineplex Odeons) are nothing special at all — with the Janus being absolutely deplorable with its cramped seats, bad sound and small screens. The Dupont Five often end up sold out, and again have weak sound systems. The West End will soon be rolled into Anthony Lanier’s new project. The Uptown is often too much of a scene (and is it just me or are the recently renovated seats not at all comfortable). With the demise of the art houses in Georgetown, what will fill this vacuum. Certainly not DC Cable (again worthy of its own letter).


Key Bridge Construction
Bob Levine,

What is going on at Key Bridge? As you cross the bridge from Georgetown into Virginia the sidewalk is closed on the right hand side and a substantial amount of construction is going on at the right hand corner of the bridge. I can’t figure out what is being constructed does anyone out there know??



Recycling Activism
Jessica Vallette, Conservation Chair, New Columbia Sierra Club,

The Campaign to Restore Recycling in DC will hold, what we hope will be, its final "RECYCLE IN" on September 14th. Please bring your recyclables to 1 Judiciary Square to SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR REINSTATING CURBSIDE (and ally) RECYCLING! For more information contact Larry Bohlen,

Mt. Pleasant Movies and Arts
Daniel Blum,

I am pleased to report that after several weeks of head-scratching, hand-wringing, and general stumbling in the dark, we have ordered a film for the Mt. Pleasant Movies and Arts kickoff event this Saturday night in Lamont Park (the triangular brick park on Mt. Pleasant Street) The film that we will be showing is "El Super" (1979), Directed by L. Ichaso. & Orlando Jimenez-Leal. A humorous and touching view of Cuban exiles living in a basement apartment during a snowy winter in New York. El Super is the story of Roberto, a superintendent, who dreams of his warm and friendly homeland, and stubbornly refuses to assimilate into the new culture. 80 min.

The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. We will be starting at dark, approximately 8:15 PM. A two dollar donation per person will requested to help defray expenses. This will theoretically enable you to have a seat on one of the rented chairs. We are not allowed to collect any money on park property, so I am hoping to make arrangements to have tickets distributed through a nearby business establishment; look for more details in a future email or on local flyers. We hope to have popcorn and sno-cones available, and a brief dramatic performance just prior to the movie. Please tell your friends and neighbors about the event. We need volunteers to help with set-up and clean-up. Please reply here or call Daniel at 202-745-1421 to help out. The event will be Saturday August 29 with a rain date of Sunday August 30.


THE CLASSIFIEDS — In Search of Painless Parker

Dentist Recommendation
Kathy Waldbauer,

Can anyone recommend a good dentist who is a participating provider in the George Washington University group health plan, and who has a metro-accessible office in downtown or northwest DC? Thanks.



House for Rent
Tom Hall,

Takoma Park — Walk to Metro from this cute 2-BR Cape in the heart of Old Town. Great neighborhood, quiet street, private yard and garage. Renovated kitchen, hardwood floors: 7414 Birch Ave. $1300/mo. No pets. Available Sept. 1st. 301-270-0110 H / 703-816-0327 W

In Search of Apartment
David Greenspan,

Single professional in search of one-bedroom apartment in the Woodley-Cleveland Park area. Any condo owners out there who need a responsible adult to rent your place, contact me immediately. Friends, relatives, neighbors vacating a one-bedroom apartment near metro on the Connecticut Ave. corridor?? I’d love to hear about it.

Move-in flexible. Prefer October if possible. Car not a problem, amenities less important than location, location, location. Feel free to contact me at any of the following, I’d be happy to discuss references and background. Thanks!!

Short-term housing wanted
Kirsten Sherk,, (202) 332-5788

Short term housing wanted ASAP for NS professional woman recently returned from overseas in Washington for a short but indeterminate amount of time.


THE CLASSIFIEDS — For Sale and Free

Free Hard Drive
TJ Hardman,

I wanted to mention that I’ve still got a 1.2 gig hard-drive, loaded to the gills with the Linux "UNIXoid" operating system, about 2000 applications, including many quite useful ones such as a networked client-server database system, development tools, C/C++ compiler, Perl, etc. etc. It’s just plain loaded, and includes source code. It’s also set up to clone itself. It’s a gift to the first responsible DC Government agency that sends serious e-mail to "" .

Of course it comes with a web server, ftp server, mailhandler, wordprocessors and mail-readers. It’s also configured to firewall and masquerade, and is capable of hosting a search-engine, etc. All on one 1.2 gig harddrive that will turn any 386 (or better) PC into a full-fledged Internet Host. First installation and configuration will be provided free of charge by TJH Internet SP, as a gift to the government and people of Washington DC. Send me some mail, you DC Government types! This could be yours. And yes, TJH Internet SP is on the Bidder’s List.

Honda Civic for Sale
Margaret Murray,

1986 Honda Civic SI — 2 door hatchback with 120,000 miles, new tires and brakes, cassette, sun roof in excellent condition for sale for $3000. Please call Meg Murray 202 364 2286 if interested

Excellent Used Car
Rona Mendelsohn,

1987 Nissan Stanza GXE lovingly used by one family. 4DR, 5 SP, ac, pwr, new brakes, tires, mfl. 115K. $1800 or best offer. Call (202) 337-7377.


THE CLASSIFIEDS — Classes and Workshops

Intro to Web Page Building Classes
Phil Shapiro,

"Intro to Web Page Building" classes starting at upper northwest DC location. Small group classes, taught on a Power Mac and Windows 98 computer. Wed. and Fri. evenings. 7 PM to 9 PM. $30/person. Phil Shapiro, (202) 686-5465. Location one block north of Connecticut Ave. and Nebraska Ave. NW.

Career Workshop
Patty Friedman 202/232-3449;

CREATING THE WORK YOU LOVE: The Anti-Career Workshop with Rick Jarow, Ph.D. Register now: advance registration fee includes Friday’s introduction. Saint Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 1830 Connecticut Ave., NW. Friday, October 9th 7-9pm $10.00 introduction/overview; Saturday, October 10th 10am-5:30pm $95.00. Patty Friedman 202/232-3449;

TennisLink Offers Private & Group Lessons and Drill Sessions
Laurie England,

Laurie England is an assistant to Dan Kelly, a tennis professional in the Washington area for over ten years and founder of TennisLink. We would like to offer a special package of tennis services to all readers of themail. Our best package is six 1 hour private lessons, plus a ball machine hour for beginners, intermediates and advanced players at $150.00. If you prefer group sessions — Dan offers 3 private lessons, 3 group drill sessions and 6 semi-private drill sessions for $199.00. All lessons are taught at hours and at courts convenient for you. In addition, Dan offers attended ball machine sessions and videotaping services. He can provide a free match referral service from his 7,000 player database for all of his clients and racquet stringing services. Please call Laurie England to sign up at 202/337-6059 or e-mail at

Jim Pondolfino,

White water rafting on the Youghioheny River in Ohiopile, PA. Class III beginning to inermediate level. Discount passes valid for any weekend in September available at FAE Tours 703-549-5087.


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