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November 29, 1998

Good Advice from themail

Dear Computerists:

Do you know how people tell you that you need to back up your data? How they say that sooner or later every disk will fail? How they warn you that someday something unexplainable and unexplained will scramble your files so that they are unreadable and irretrievable?

Well, they're right.

If you sent something that didn't make it into this issue, please send it again. If you sent me a personal message in the past week or so that I haven't answered yet, please send it again. I'm not ignoring, insulting, or snubbing you.

The good advice that themail has for you this week is back up your data. Do it now, and do it every day. Maybe twice a day. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security; don't think that computers are your friends. They're out to get you, ruin your lives, and make you miserable. They're like the DC government that way.

This week we have the run-off vote for the next official motto for the District of Columbia. No vote that came in earlier will be counted, and not just because I lost them, but also because they were sent in ahead of time. Please vote by sending a blank E-mail to  with your choice for the motto — either “DC — The Last Colony” or “Taxed Without Representation” — in the subject line. All votes have to be sent before midnight on Saturday.

Very, very sincerely yours,
Gary Imhoff


The Mayor's Focus
Ed T. Barron,

“The Economic Resurgence of Washington, D.C.” is a must read plan for those who live in and love this city. This is not a pie in the sky tome developed by a group of highly paid outside consultants. It is a genuine and viable work of a few hundred community, civic and business leaders who live in Washington with a 30 member Steering Committee who put together a consensus plan. Any plan is better than no plan, but this plan has all the earmarks of one that can, and likely will, be carried out. Read the Exec Summary, at least, on .

The major thrust of this economic plan is to attract businesses and people to move to the District. This plan can only happen if there is a concentrated focus by the mayor on the two current disincentives for people and businesses to locate in the city, crime and public education. These should be among the new Mayor's top priorities. Tony Williams has already met with Hillary Clinton. There needs to be a significant follow-up. The city government's top leaders should produce a plan for major reductions in crime in the city and for evolving the DCPS into a world class educational system. The latter plan should show how this can be done and be presented to the Congress with a request for special funds to implement a pilot program in the District that will be a model for other urban school systems across the country. With a model DCPS and a city that has crime under control, the economic plan, so well crafted by our own residents, can become a reality.

[I'd welcome any other opinions of and debate on this plan. — Gary Imhoff]


Jim Moran and John Whiteside
John Olinger,

What a ringing endorsement of Jim Moran from Mr. Whiteside! Frankly, from the point of view of a resident of diverse Ward Six, there is little to choose between Congressman Moran and Congressman Barr — both want to get rid of Bill Clinton and both tell us how to live our lives. Mr. Whiteside may be pleased with Mr. Moran; that's his business. But he crosses the line when he presumes to tell District residents that we ought to be happy to have Mr. Moran as our neighbor. That's all; I'm off to happy hour.


A Brief Correction
Steph “I remember that day very well” Faul,

The plane that crashed into the Potomac was operated by Air Florida, not Pan Am. I drove home from downtown through hideous traffic that afternoon — it took four hours to get from the Smithsonian to Cleveland Park and I broke several traffic laws to make it that fast. Meanwhile it snowed and snowed and the radio played a depressing variety of increasingly horrible news. It was one of our city's all-time Bad Days.


Barbara Zartman,

Just a vote in support of Art Spitzer's argument for the slogan “Taxation without representation.” As someone with strong memories of history lessons about the impact of tea protests in Boston Harbor triggering revolution because of unjust taxation, it's hard to argue. Whether it's Al Capone or Deep Throat, I guess the message is the same: Follow the money!



Arthur Cotton Moore Lecture
Matthew Gilmore,

Slide lecture and book signing by Arthur Cotton Moore, author of The Powers of Preservation: New Life for Urban Historic Places. December 8, 1998, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 pm., Washingtoniana Division, D.C Public Library, 901 G St NW. Limited number of books for sale, call (202) 727-1213 to reserve a copy or for more information.

Moore is a nationally and internationally recognized architect and planner — sixth generation Washingtonian, graduate of St. Alban's and Princeton. Since 1965 he has practiced in 36 cities across the country and received numerous awards. His local work includes numerous projects in Washington, including Georgetown's Canal Square, and Washington Harbor, the Portals Building, restoration of the Library of Congress Jefferson Building and the Old Post Office. A man ahead of his time, his vision of downtown Washington in the 1970s would have rehabilitated G Street's small storefronts (now long gone), incorporating them into larger buildings. That approach, rejected then, is commonplace in Washington today.

Moore writes, “The Powers of Preservation is about my work in preservation over the past thirty-one years. It begins with the adaptive reuse of ordinary, industrial, and historic structures, and the birth in the 1960s of a popular dynamic political constituency for that approach to preservation.”



Garden Plants
Seth Morris,

Gardener seeks to swap plant material. I have interesting dahlia bulbs, fig trees that I have propagated and other cool stuff. Leave a message at 202-723-6279. Seth Morris


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