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September 16, 1998

The Post-Primary Letdown Issue

Dear Readers:

themail is shorter than usual this issue. Once you've recovered from the strenuous exercise of voting — and, judging from the turnout, themail readers probably constitute the majority of active DC voters — please write home and let your fellow readers know what's happening in your corner of the District.

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Time to End the Imperial Mayor.
Carl Bergman,

Sometime Tuesday night the we'll have a new mayor-elect. (November being a formality.) Baring an upset, it will be Tony Williams, but even if it isn't, there will be one major change that's common to all major candidates. Larger than life is over. The days of the imperial mayor should be at an end. Neither in campaign style, personality or promise has anyone tried to take on Barry's robe as boss of the bureaucracy, majordomo of controversy, and influence peddler magnet. Our new mayor ought to make sure it doesn't happen again. This means more than giving up unneeded security, holding down on the limo's siren, and avoiding late night escapades. It means ending such pointless, but politically lucrative programs as the Mayor's Youth Leadership. From what I gather, its purpose is to bring kids together so they can wear T-shirts with the mayor's name, and maybe get a free meal. An obnoxious example of the imperial Mayor is the summer youth program. Known as Mayor Barry's Summer Youth Program, it's really a national program funded by Labor with some city money thrown in. The only thing the Mayor gives the program is his name. The mayor or council ought to rename it the District's Summer Youth Program. It's to be expected that a new mayor means new signs, stationary, plaques and the usual trappings of power, but it would really indicate a new day in DC, if the more egregious signs of Barry's regime disappeared never to return.


Independent and Obscured
Alpha Estes Brown,

[This message, submitted by independent mayoral candidate Alpha Estes Brown, was first published in the letters column of the Washington Post.] As an activist-turned-independent mayoral candidate, I find the electoral process in the District — as well as your coverage of it — anything but fair.

First, independent mayoral candidates don't get to pick up nominating petitions until well after the Democrats and other partied candidates have begun their debates. When asked to sign petitions, many registered voters say that they have made up their minds already or that they have enough candidates already.

Second, independents are excluded from almost every debate prior to the primary. By the time they get to participate, the partied candidates already have made an indelible imprint on the minds of the electorate.

Third, newspapers refuse to cover independents prior to the primary and do not respond to their press releases.

Finally, without the legitimacy of the early press coverage that other candidates get, who is going to contribute to our campaigns? People don't believe we are legitimate, and if they don't believe we are viable, they simply will not contribute to the independent mayoral campaign.

I am running for office to give voice to an issue that is neglected in policy and press: alcohol in the District and how it plagues and drowns our city.

I guess I will have to do as former DC Council member Frederick Douglass did: When folks wouldn't print his news, he started his own newspaper.


Historic District Designation Hearing
Paul Williams,

I would like to encourage everyone to attend the 'Greater U Street Historic District' designation hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board next Thursday, September 24th at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street, Room 220 South, starting at 10 am.

Its going to be quite an educational session, with three major presentations on the neighborhood: Ann Sellin (Residential Action Coalition) on neighborhood social history, Paul Williams (Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association) on architectural history and development, and a fantastic and emotional presentation on the richest era of the neighborhood; The African American experience along U Street during the 1900s to the 1960s (Kathy Smith). Each session will include a slide presentation, and should prove to be an educational experience for all that attend. I especially would like you to show and voice your support during the public comment period as well! Boundaries are very roughly S to the south (including French), Florida to the north, 16th to the west and 7th to the east. It is the culmination of an 8 year survey and study period initiated by CSNA on behalf of hundreds of volunteers and dozens of participating neighborhood organizations. Call in sick and learn about your community history!


Girls 2 Men
Steph "Spokesman" Faul,

FYI to the gender-confused: A chairman can be a woman, just as a senator can be a woman. ("Senator" comes from the Latin "senex," meaning "oldman.")"Mankind" includes women, as does "All men are created equal" and "No man is anisland."For grammatical and legal purposes, women can be men, and occasionally vice versa. So Linda Cropp can easily be "Chairman," though I'm personally undecided about my role in helping her keep the job.

In case you think this is a recent phenomenon, Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt not only styled herself "Pharaoh" but wore a fake beard. At least Linda is spared *that* particular bit of masculine impersonation.


Rent Control
Jeffrey Itell,

Galey Modan writes that the District's rent control laws have kept his rents affordable and given him leverage over landlords. "The abolition of rent control will drive people like me with moderate incomes out of the city to...Maryland and Virginia." Which, of course, are states known for their strong rent control and tenants' rights programs.


Rent Control & Pushing People out of the District
John Whiteside,

Galey Modan writes: "The abolition of rent control will drive people like me with moderate incomes out of the city to places where we can afford to live." I doubt it. Rents in close-in suburbs are comparable to DC's; take it from one who was apartment-hunting in Arlington earlier this year. People don't leave for lower rents; they leave for lower taxes, better services, and what they perceive as a higher quality of life.


Rent Control (again)
Rob Pegoraro,, speaking for himself, as ever...

The logic in Galey Modan's message seems a little fuzzy to me. My fellow dc.story, er, themail correspondent wrote:

The abolition of rent control will drive people like me with moderate incomes out of the city to places where we can afford to live. This means that DC will lose our tax money, and that our purchasing power will be put into communities in Maryland and Virginia.

I'm not sure about Maryland, but I can assure you that rent control doesn't exist in any form on the south side of the Potomac. So this means that the abolition of rent control in the District will cause moderate-income DC renters to move to… other places without rent control? Huh?


"Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar..."
Charlie Wellander,

Now we hear that the unabridged Starr Report will soon be out as an audiotape book, for those who want it read to them as they commute. I had not been thinking of it as literature (good or bad), but certainly its style could be improved by adding some epigraphs to the chapters. I've found a few that may be appropriate. (I should apologize for any political incorrectness of these long-dead white males; perhaps it stems from the subject matter?)

"Some sigh for this and that;
My wishes don't go far;
The world may wag at will,
So I have my cigar." ---Thomas Hood: _The Cigar_, ca. 1840

"A good cigar is as great a comfort to a man as a good cry is to a woman." ---E.G. Bulwer-Lytton: _Darnley, II_, 1845

"A cigar is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied." ---Oscar Wilde: _The Picture of Dorian Gray_, 1891

"A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." ---Rudyard Kipling: _The Betrothed_, 1886



Don't Miss the Democratic Unity Breakfast
Linda Finkel-Talvadar,

On Saturday, September 19th, 10:00 a.m. in the Great Hall of St. Columba's Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, The Ward Three Democrats will he holding a post-primary "Unity Breakfast" featuring the Democratic candidates nominated in the September 15 primary election. The public is invited to this important event at which the Democratic nominees for Mayor, Delegate to Congress, as well as the Chairman, At-Large and Ward Three member of the DC City Council will be on hand for their first collective public appearance. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased at the door or call Kurt Vorndran, Chair at 667-0l05. All Democrats are encouraged to attend to show their support for the united Democratic slate. For more information call Chair Kurt Vorndran (202-667-0105) or Second Vice-Chair Linda Finkel-Talvadar (202-363-8827).


Les Compagnons De La Parole Francaise
Aysegul Acar,

Les Compagnons De La Parole Francaise is a diverse, social, international group that has been meeting for a happy-hour in French every Thursday from 5:30 until 7 pm in Washington DC since 1967.. After the happy hour the group usually goes to dinner. The 'Compagnons' 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 Also please note that only French is allowed at the meetings.


Dan Kelly,

We have 60 hours of Indoor Clay Socials planned for the winter. All 15 are $275 for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. $200 for 10; $75 for 3; $30 each; Refreshments Included! Location: Georgetown Prep. Dates: All Saturday 7-11 pm, October 3, 17, and 31, 1998; November 14, 21, 1998; December 5, 19, 1998; January 16, 30, 1999; February 13, 20, 27, 1999; March 20, 17, 1999; April 3, 1999. Theme: First Is Grand Opening; Second is Oktoberfest; Third is Halloween. Dan Kelly 301/718-8153



Ticket giveaway - Washington Home Design and Furniture Show
John Heaton,

I have a pair of tickets to the Washington Home Design and Furniture Show, to be held September 25-27 at the Washington Convention Center, that I would like to give free of charge to a themail@dcwatch reader. But of course, there's a catch. I have thought of a number between 1 and 1000, and sent that number to our fearless moderator. All you need to do is send an e-mail to me at telling me what you think that number is. The person whose guess is closest to the actual number will win the tickets, not to mention the respect and admiration of your peers. Ties will be settled by guessing a second number. Good luck!


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