Make Every Complaint Count
Dear Fellow Moaners and Groaners:
I want to complain about all the complaints we've been getting about all
the complaining we've been doing. I don't think that we complain too much. I think that we
don't complain enough. We're beaten down by how ineffective our complaints are at getting
responses from elected officials and appointed bureaucrats alike. We're ready to settle
for late, partial, non-existent, and even hostile services from our city government. We're
grateful whenever something, anything, actually works. We boast when we can get our
driver's licenses renewed in less than an hour, as though a minimum level of government
efficiency and responsiveness is unusual and unexpected.
I remember a letter to DCStory, themail's predecessor, a couple years ago
in which a woman wrote that she had moved to Arlington, which she called 15 minutes and a
world away from Washington. We should expect the same kinds of services, and the same kind
of treatment from government officials, that we would get if we lived in Arlington, or
Bethesda, or any of the suburbs. After all, even after the cutbacks of the past few years,
our per capita budget and our ratio of government employees to residents are higher than
anywhere else in the U.S. (yes, even after you combine city and state government figures).
We should expect the best street cleaning, the best trash collection, the best schools,
the best city employees, and we should complain like hell when we don't get them. Which we
The best occasion for complaining all year, actually every two years,
comes this Tuesday. Let's go to the polls and make every complaint count.
Let's Make this City Great! Vote Schwartz for
Mark Richards, Democrat, Ward 2, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have good choices for mayor, and that is refreshing. Realistically,
either Williams or Schwartz will win. So a vote for anyone else besides Schwartz helps
Williams. Thanks to John Gloster and all independent candidates who really really worked
hard to raise important issues, and who don't get the credit they deserve that
needs to change. As for Williams, well, I got my tax return back fast, too. The budget is
balanced... a good thing. OK, so we sold off a few public assets, and... let's not go
there. Overall, he has some good ideas and he did his job well, and we need to hire more
people like him. But he is VERY short on experience in governing.
Our mayor is the equivalent of Governor. To be elected mayor is to be
awarded, by citizens, the highest political leadership position possible. It is a very
high honor that should not be handed out lightly. Mayors don't move from city to city,
resume in hand, like other jobs. Mayors are people who citizens know and who have proven
themselves over a long time. They understand what self government means, and they do not
take it lightly. Williams didn't even vote and when certain members of Congress
offered to take MORE powers from our elected officials and give them to him,
he didn't express ANY concern, he said yes. Granted, something had to be done. But I
expect those at the helm to defend American principles AS they perform. I can't in good
conscience vote Williams yet.
Why Schwartz? Just because someone has been around a long time doesn't
qualify them to be mayor, and it's not about whose turn it is. This isn't Carol's main
point anyway. She has a long record and many clearly written policy papers that have been
conveniently ignored by the main mouthpieces. Carol isn't perfect and she's been here long
enough for us to know it. But a few things are clear of the two candidates,
Schwartz is the most loyal, she has the most governing experience, her performance record
is clear and impressive, and if our children follow her example, we won't have to import
our leaders and give them a quick course on our complicated and often sad history which we
better not repeat. As mayor, we will be giving Schwartz our authority to implement the
details of reforms that most of us want done, NOW! Reforms that were clearly outlined by
Alice Rivlin back in 1990... while ALSO being very clear that we intend to protect our
slow but steady progress toward full republican guarantees to local self government and
full voting rights. Schwartz has the confidence of the bureaucracy that she will need to
make changes, she isn't going to cut our neighborhoods out, she knows all the people, the
issues, and can forge consensus. She looks everyone right in the eyes. And she knows where
the bodies are buried... She is clear on who the mayor's boss is the CITIZENS of
D.C. And she is fair. This isn't about race, party, or gender. Her endorsements cross all
boundaries. Those who supported Schwartz in the past shouldn't abandon her now. Do you
think she is going to let this city down? She is so determined to overcome obstacles that
if we elect her, she WILL perform. Don't doubt it. I'm not saying it's going to be all
roses without thorns. That's not realistic. But don't doubt that you are going to see a
more citizen and business friendly city, and we citizens (not customers) are going to be
able to stand up once again and proudly declare "I AM FROM THE DISTRICT OF
Showbiz: The Post Editorial Follies of
Carl Bergman, email@example.com
The Post's editorial endorsements have gone showbiz. In the at
large race, we've seen a magic act, followed by a backstage drama. What can you call it
but magic the way they made Phil Mendelson disappear? In the primary, they praised and
endorsed four, listing Phil first. He wins. After the election, they start by coldly
denying their praise. We included Mr. Mendelson among four individuals we
endorsed. In this Saturday's edition, they finish the job. He's not mentioned. Gone,
vanished! The saga doesn't end there. Needing a new lead, he's replaced from the back
ranks of the chorus, er, candidate pack with Beverly Wilbourn, truly an unknown. What's
behind all this? Between the primary and now why did they chill? Did they find out
something too scandalous to say? That would be a first. Did hiz honor's parting race
mischief scare some Post folks who're in the last rounds of radical chic? They
owe us an explanation, and not just more showbiz
Vote Mendelson and Catania
Jeffrey Itell, Story@intr.net
Not that you should follow my advice . . . but the Washington Post
is playing a dangerous game by endorsing Independent and unknown Beverly Wilbourn (I think
that's her name) for the At-Large Council seat. Many think the Post chose Wilbourn to show
a commitment to a majority black council. So do I. The Post also strongly
endorsed David Catania, a judgment I welcome.
We each cast two votes for the At-Large candidate. Mendelson, the Democrat
at the top of the ballot, will certainly be elected. The other winner will be Catania,
Wilbourn, or Hilda Mason. Catania has the advantage of incumbency; Wilbourn the Post
endorsement; and Mason high name recognition. The Post endorsement
could pull votes from Catania, putting Mason back in office. (Under chaos
theory, the endorsement of the Post could also knock the space shuttle out of
No one seems to want to say it directly, but Hilda Mason cannot perform
the duties of a Councilmember. She cannot remember people. She cannot attend a hearing
without questions prepared by staff. (Other legislators do not want to attend hearings
without staff questions, but they could if they had to.) Mason is not too old to sit on
the council, but her mental capacity is sadly not up to par. Watching her in inaction is
sad. And returning her to the council would be a sad commentary on DC voters. That is why
it is important to ignore the Post and vote for Mendelson and Catania.
Danilo Pelletiere, firstname.lastname@example.org
It seems that the Washington Post and the Washington Times
have found a new friend for At-Large Council. I support Phil Mendelson but am unsure about
my second vote. I thought perhaps Beverly Wilbourn was the answer. I no longer think she
is. Before anyone rushes off to vote for this new entrant please be advised
that her political mentor is Mr. Yeldell whose name became synonymous with corruption a
few years back (my memory of the events aren't to clear but there was an indictment I
It's true she's done a little community service work with the D.C. Bar but
that seems to be it. The Post wants us to believe that her community service was
what won her the endorsement of Charlene Drew Jarvis, the Board of Trade and the Chamber
of Commerce. Neither Ms. Jarvis nor those business groups are known for giving a lot back
to our neighborhoods and community service is certainly not their primary objective.
Beverly Wilbourn is not free of this city's special interests and the Barry past, she is a
product of it. In fact friends received a letter today from Cora Masters Barry asking them
to vote for Wilbourn. She has no public record and her past and backers give us little to
hope for. Read Loose Lips in the last City Paper for more on this.
There are plenty of good people to vote for. People with public records
and clear positions on the issues that affect us. People like Phil Mendelson and David
Catania have management skills and concern for our neighborhoods that are real, and they
have a record that shows it. You have two votes on Tuesday. Look the candidates over and
make a decision, just don't believe the hype. As I said I support Phil and am still trying
to make up my mind on the other vote. That's why I looked at Beverly Wilbourn a little
closer and I'm glad I did.
Let's take judicial notice of the real political terrorists in this
"democracy" the Republicans, who couldn't spell "constitution"
if you spotted them the first eight letters and fulfill their greatest fear
by passing Resolution 59.
No objectivity in this corner. I've got multiple sclerosis (MS). But I
don't have any symptoms -- no wheelchair, no loss of coordination, no incontinence. So 59
isn't for me yet. It's for patients who have worse cases. And it's for patients who
have other debilitating diseases for which marijuana has been proven to restore their
appetite and alleviate their pain and make them want to live again. No, the dope doesn't
work every time on everyone. But it's effective enough often enough to be given a chance.
Sometimes it's the closest thing to a cure we've got. If I deteriorate to where I've got a
choice between a joint and a wheelchair, which way do you think I'm going? And should I or
anyone else with MS or similar afflictions have to do time for saving our life? So, please
vote yes on 59. And consider this: if the Republicans weren't afraid we'd pass it and
implement, you think they would have tried to stop us?
What does the ACLU think, Art Spitzer?
Art Spitzer, ArtSpitzer@aol.com
We are filing suit tomorrow (Friday Oct. 30). For more details, check the
Saturday Post Metro Section. [For those new to the conversation, this is on the
issue of whether Congress can forbid DC from expending its funds on Initiative 59.
Adding Things Up at the Post
steph Figures don't lie, but illiterates figure faul, email@example.com
So was curled up with the Post's special election supplement and
turned to the beautifully designed Statistical Profile, ominously numbered as
page 13. Apparently the art department showed so much design talent they were allowed to
write the information. Too bad their calculators were broken that day. The
population breakdown actually breaks UP, to 107.3 percent. (It may actually be
a subliminal ad for a radio station, but if so it's pretty subtle.) This surplus is
partially rectified by the political affiliations, which only add up to 99.4 percent. And
apparently $128.6 million is also a percentage, at least, it's labeled thusly:
Percent of annual revenue lost from nongovernmental tax-exempt property.
But the real insults are spread across the bottom of the page in teeny
demographic factoids of absolutely no interest or significance. I have no idea what
Adults who ate pizza sold by a major chain in the past month says about
Washingtonians' electoral preferences. Could one of The Mail's alert readers interpret
this for me? Thanks SO much.
Indignity upon Indignity at UDC
Constance Z. Maravell, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am taking anatomy and physiology at UDC, I will never continue with the
second half. Tuesday we were supposed to start dissecting cats. Our $35 lab fee was
primarily to cover the cost of cats. Each one costs $35. No CATS. Instead we are talked to
by the chairman of the Biology department who explained that the budget was late in being
released. The control board didn't approve cats. I seriously doubt if the control board
micromanages to that level. She would see if she could get some petty cash to get a few
cats for us.
We were all outraged. How are we supposed to learn anything. We are doing
muscles and organs now. We will never see them even in a cat. The chairman suggested that
we look in our text. I pointed out that our text did not illustrate all the muscles it
listed and that I had 5 other books with illustrations and there were still some muscles I
couldn't find illustrated. To add insult to injury, the chairman, whose name I can't
remember because I was so upset, said something to the effect that it's not as we were in
medical school. One thing is for sure you couldn't get to medical school from UDC. You
just wouldn't have the preparation.
Hooray for the efforts of Roxanna Dean of MLK and Barbara Franco of the
Historical Society of DC for their efforts in getting a city museum, and especially at
Carnegie Library; I can hardly think of a better adaptive re-use for the building. DC had
a great story to be told, and its amazing (read: pathetic) that a city museum has not
existed before. And how smart of them to use the building during convention center
construction to house architectural/building offices while its built; that leverages a
tremendous amount of restoration funds that would have otherwise gone to renting nasty
construction trailers. When it opens, I plan on donating several historical items I've
gathered at garage sales and junk shops for the benefit of city research or display, and
as in the past copies of my house history research. I encourage others to do so as well.
Computer Clinic Center
Stephanie Faul, email@example.com
I had a computer problem and took my laptop there. The two men behind the
counter ignored me for several minutes (a problem women often have in computer and camera
stores), and when a woman finally showed up and asked what I wanted she had trouble
filling out the form with my name and address. While she was doing this a man who was
picking up his computer asked her for a blank floppy. She opened a drawer, picked a floppy
out of it, said I'm not sure what's on this one and handed it to him. At that
point I realized I was dealing with hard-core nincompoops, picked up my laptop, and left.
Dupont Computers, on R Street (right next to Lauriol Plaza) is very professional and did
the job right.
Problems with CapitalOne?
Lynn Dorman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Has any one had problems dealing with CapitalOne and their credit card
people? Mine are too many to list but I would like to find out if there are others who are
having problems with them. In unity there is strength!
Recycling in New Jersey
Julie Newman, email@example.com
In response to Catherine Lancaster from Chicago on recycling who wrote,
I'm not sure I believe it, but a couple of people have told me that Chicago
discourages recycling because there are so many jobs here tied to new manufacturing of
recyclable products, I offer this:
I hail from New Jersey. Ever wonder why, on glass bottles, etc. there are
deposits listed for just about every state surrounding New Jersey except New
Jersey itself? Where I'm from (extreme Southern New Jersey), glass manufacturing is a very
large industry. Many jobs are to be had not only in the glass factories, but also in sand
mining, etc., in the area. For the local economy, it makes sense not to return glass
bottles for a deposit, even if it may the more environmentally sound option. So,
Catherine, your tidbit about Chicago recycling may not be too far off.
Could someone please tell me about recycling office paper? I work at home
and have a ton (slight exaggeration) of white and colored office paper I would like to
recycle can I put it out in my spiffy new bin, or what can I do with it, besides
filling more landfills?
Lighten Up, Metro
Paul Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Has anyone noticed the experimental lighting going on in Metro center?
They seem to be testing several different variations of white lights atop the
cooling/signage towers. Some are OK, others pretty bright and pretty bad. I know the
lighting was carefully designed and meant to be calming; these do the opposite. Although,
as a preservationist, it scares me to think I'm leaning toward the side of something built
in the 1970s...
Pizza Like It Oughta Be
Willie Schatz, email@example.com
I don't know or care, for that matter how we got on pizza,
but as long we're there, I'll play. I'm a Noo Yawkah, so I know pizza. If that's not
enough which it should be, since the city is the center of the universe, AND DON'T
FORGET IT I spent a week in Italy this summer.
Chicago Pizza????!!!! PUHLEEZE. It's as close to pizza as
military intelligence is to having a clue and military music is to The Boss. You want the
right stuff? Go to Pizzeria Paradiso on P Street NW. I know all about these suburban
joints, and they're lost in the rain in Juarez. Pizzeria is owned by Peter Pastan, also
the owner of next-door Obelisk, the best Italian restaurant in the region. Take one bite
of Peter's stuff and you'll never want to eat any other kind.
Not a Lawyer. Honest
Ralston Cox, firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, OK, so maybe DC has more lawyers working here than residents (a slight
exaggeration, I think, but only when Congress and the lobbyists are out of town), and
maybe it would have been a really really great idea for me to take Latin in school, but
I'm not a lawyer and I didn't learn Latin in school but I'd still like to share in the
humor in DCWatch. Would everyone please translate the Latin they include in their
postings? I just about went over the edge a few weeks ago when there were literally dozens
of suggestions for a DC motto that were written in Latin. I couldn't understand any of
'em. Even my rudimentary handle on one of the romance languages didn't seem to
Roxanna Deane's posting about our current motto Justitia
Omnibus was a reminder to this reader that we ain't gonna get Justitia
(Justice?) until we can all (Omnibus?) understand each other. Did I get it right? Oh
CLASSIFIEDS EVENTS AND MEETINGS
Be the first to ring in the 1998 holiday season at the Seventh Annual
Jingle Bell Ball, a benefit for Calvary Women's Shelter which helps homeless women in DC.
This is a value oriented event. For the price you can't beat it -- and all the fun people
to meet who also care about making the world a better place. When: Saturday, November 21,
1998, 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Where: The Club at Franklin Square, 1300 Eye Street, NW,
Washington, D.C. Featuring the Motown sounds of The Mustangs (festive and formal, black
tie optional). Bargain Basement Price: $55 per guest before Friday, November 13th. Price
includes entertainment, hors d'oeuvres, two drink tickets redeemable for beer and/or wine,
and soda. Parking available for $5.00.
This year, Calvary Women's Shelter celebrates its 15th anniversary of
providing support, hope and change for homeless women in Washington, D.C. For 25 women,
Calvary is a place to sleep, eat, and address financial, social, and health issues through
comprehensive case management 24 hours a day. To purchase advance tickets, call
Reed Dewey at (202) 363-8433 or E-mail email@example.com and I'll send a formal invitation
to you. Or, you can call Calvary Women's Shelter at (202) 783-6651.
Do You Have A Small Business? Would You Like to
R.A. Bird Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
FINCA USA, Inc. is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote
economic development through self-employment. With a two step lending program, this
microenterprise program offers loans of $500-$6,000, basic entrepreneurial training and
technical assistance. To find out more about FINCA USA and our microenterprise program,
come to our next orientation.
WHEN: Monday, November 9, 1998. WHERE: 1101 14th Street, NW, Washington DC
20005 11th Floor. TIME: 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM. Please call Elizabeth Crittenden at
202-682-1510 ext. 241 to let us know you are coming.
Tasting Society International
(formerly Washington Tasting Society)
November/December Calendar of Events
Charlie Adler, cadler@DGS.DGSYS.COM
1) Great Wines from Down Under: Australian and New Zealand Wine
Tasting, Tues. Nov. 10th, 7:00-9:00 PM, National Press Club, 529 14th St.
(F St.), NW, (13th floor), Washington, D.C., $38. 2) Americas Wine
Treasures: East Coast vs. West Coast Blind Tasting Showdown, Wed. Nov. 11th,
7:00-9:00 PM, National Press Club, 529 14th St. ("F" St.), NW, (13th floor),
Washington, D.C., $38. 3) Holiday Wine Xtravaganza with Cocktails 'Round the
Clock! 25% off on all wine orders, Tues. Nov. 17th, 7:00-10:00 PM, National Press
Club Ballroom, 529 14th St. (F St.), NW, (13th floor), Washington, D.C., $30,
in advance. 4) Wine Basics 101, Thurs. Dec. 3rd, 7:00-9:00 PM, National Press
Club, 529 14th St. (F St.), NW, (13th floor), Washington, D.C., $35. 5)
Michael Franzs Best of the Best: Top Current Wine Releases of 1998, Wed.
Dec. 9th, 7:00-9:00 PM, National Press Club, 529 14th St. ("F" St.), NW, (13th
floor), Washington, D.C., $50. 6) Champagnes for the Millennium, more details soon
Holiday Wines Xtravaganza 4 Reasons to Go: 1. Taste over 100
different wines and spirits, 2. New cocktail samples every 15 minutes, 3. 25% (yes 25%!)
discount on all wine orders, 4. Thanksgiving and holidays around the corner! Interested in
a private wine tasting or wine dinner event? Michael Franz, wine columnist for the Washington
Post, can entertain groups from 30 - 1000, we take care of all the arrangements, just
call (202)333-8992. Reservations: RSVP at (202)333-5588 or email: email@example.com , or the Reservation Form at our Web
Page at http://www.tastedc.com/reservations.html
Share life with a small group of men of varying ages who meet every over
week in the Washington Metro area. We're a fun group and would like to take on a few good
men. E-mail or call Reed at (202) 363-8433.
Furnished Housing Wanted
Helen Marieskind, firstname.lastname@example.org
Temporary furnished housing wanted by responsible, mature woman,
non-smoking. Sub-let or house sit two to three months beginning early to mid November.
Will care for plants and pets. email@example.com (202)362-9766. Thank you!
Room Available in House
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a room becoming available in our shared student house in the upper
northwest DC. Walk to Van Ness subway. One block north of Connecticut Ave. and Nebraska
Ave. $400/month. Available Jan. 1, 1999. Nonsmoking. Contact: (202) 686-5465. http://www.his.com/pshapiro/
Takoma, DC. Charming bungalow, quiet neighborhood, near Metro. Porches,
fireplace, yard, ample space. Vegetarian friendly. No pets. $475 including utilities. Lou
202-723-5909 or 202-208-0012.
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