themail.gif (3487 bytes)

February 14, 1999

Chocolates and Flowers

Dear Sweethearts:

As my special Valentines Day gift to you, and as a result of Dorothy's pleading, I shall spare you my bitter ruminations on the adventures of your president. As a concession to the prevailing sentiment, I shall even emulate what Herblock did when Richard Nixon was elected president. As you may remember, Herblock had always drawn Nixon with a heavy, sinister beard shadow, but on Nixon's first inaugural day Herblock drew him in a barber's chair, getting a shave, and thereafter drew him as clean shaven. In honor of the Senate vote, from now on I shall not use the term “Slick Willy” any more, and shall speak reverently of “Honest Bill.” And I'll be just as sincere as Herblock was.

We have plenty of classifieds here, but few substantive messages. What do you hear? What do you want us to know?

Gary Imhoff


Life and Death — In the District, Naturally
Charlie Wellander,

Sitting in my apartment Thursday morning, I noticed small softly slipping shadows of snowflakes sliding across the bright sunlight on the floor. No — too warm this February day. Falling leaves? No — fall was months ago. I sidled to the window and peered out. On a tree branch ten feet away sat a hawk deftly defeathering a pigeon. The daintily descending plumage postumbrated its owner's final flight. (For the naturalists on this natural list, my bird guide says the perp was a Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii).)

So, you can still see bits of wilderness in this city. There's a predator plundering our packs of pigeons. If only a raptor would ravage our rafts of rats.


A View from One Neighborhood — 17th and Q NW
Mark Richards,

I live on the east side of Dupont Circle, near the 17th St. Strip. Dupont is like 4 or 5 neighborhoods. Seems as if residents identify “their neighborhood” as a fairly small area within a certain few block walking proximity to home. A survey I did found one of the main reasons people live here is that the neighborhood is self-sufficient, with dry cleaners, shoe repair, hardware, grocery, videos, clothing, household goods, cards, restaurants, and clubs all outside one's door. People here don't mind getting snowed in. The sidewalks are alive and the mood upbeat with a nice mix of people of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones — many singles. You won't find many racists, sexists, or homophobes here. Although the majority are probably straight, gays and lesbians have a vibrant community here and are not fearful to walk hand-in-hand. If you live in this urban village awhile, you can't walk out of your home without seeing neighbors and friends. The church bells still ring without fail several times each Sunday (I've even heard them when out of town on CNN as they showed Clinton exiting Foundry United Methodist Church).

There's an ongoing dispute (ANC2B) about how to keep the current BALANCE between residential and commercial space. The neighborhood has gone through many changes and its on the upswing. Those who have been here longest seem to be most active in the ANC. Many fought to protect historic buildings from being razed and today feel miffed that newcomers don't recognize what it takes to keep a neighborhood intact. Activists have been using a liquor moratorium as a tool to keep the current balance. I'm not opposed to their goal, but wish there were other ways to accomplish it. Using the moratorium means that Randy, a great guy who owns and operates Palmer's Café, and the Greek café and the African/Caribbean café can't serve wine with meals. That doesn't seem fair, and it hurts their business. Activists fear becoming another 18th Street/Adams Morgan, with the growth of night life. They don't share a vision of DC with a suburban playground economy. Already, they complain that parking is a nightmare and some guests are not respectful of the neighborhood (noise, trash...). I'd like to see a parking garage built underneath Stead Park, which it wouldn't be visible but easily accessible through the alley.

Angie's New Leaf, a plant and flower shop with everything else imaginable packed in, is going out of business. Mary owns and operates Angie's — she's closing it not because it hasn't been profitable, but because she's been running it for about two decades and is tired. She doesn't look tired — this woman has energy. She lives in Maryland, but her family has a long connection to the block since her grandfather ran the grocery that is now JRs next store. People mistakenly call Mary “Angie.” You could always find a quick gift for anyone there, and her prices were a deal. She knew everything about plants. We got attached to Angie's, maybe took it for granted. I'm sad that Mary is closing Angie's — I understand her, but I guess I'm stingy. Some will probably blame the restaurant/club owners. They'll say the restaurants and night clubs have led to rising rent costs, pushing out places like Angie's. I asked Mary and she said “nothing to do with it.” From the roof of the old Cairo Hotel, the tallest DC residential building, one can see how the neighborhood has developed. I appreciate our small businesses — they're run by people who work hard and many have stuck around a long time — long enough that we still enjoy a few blocks of small, business owned townhouses that would surely have been razed by now if they sold out. Those spaces wouldn't be human scale, they would have been replaced by block — big buildings that would have meant the end of our urban village. There are lessons here for other neighborhoods.


Why Bother??
Ed T. Barron,

You have to wonder why so many folks are calling for more funding for UDC and status as a “Historically Black University” when the Board of Trustees of the University can't even raise a quorum for a meeting. With all the problems that UDC has the Board should be meeting every month not once a year. And then the Board should be putting the screws on the Admin and Faculty to make the University work.

Unfortunately the concept of a real university in D.C. will not be realized and we are wasting taxpayer dollars on a non-functioning activity. Better to revise the mission of the school to one that can be realized and adjust the curriculum and the faculty accordingly. This would result in better use of our tax dollars and provide services to students coming out of our public High Schools who need a great deal of remedial work before they are ready for a real college or university.



Chief of Police Ramsey at Chevy Chase Citizens Association Meeting, February 16
Evelyn M. Wrin,

The D.C. Chief of Police, Charles Ramsey, will be speaking to the Chevy Chase Citizens Association at its February meeting on Tuesday, February 16th, at 7:30 pm. The meeting will be held in Blessed Sacrament School, located at Chevy Chase Parkway, Patterson St. and Quesada St., just east of Connecticut Avenue at Chevy Chase Circle. Also on the program for that evening is Ellen Jones, who will talk about recycling in D.C. For further information, call 202.244.5744.


Abow and Jaleo and Kramer
Sven Abow,

Hope y'all are enjoying the warm days. My folks back in Germany are digging their way through about three feet of fresh powdered snow right now. This Saturday I will drum with my friend Mike Wheaton and his band Jaleo down at Kramer Books on Connecticut Ave. right above Dupont Circle. Jaleo is Latin Pop with a back beat plus some Jazz Standards. We'll play from 10 pm til 2 am. If you stop by you can just browse through the books or grab a chair or a table and chill with their delicious food and our tunes.


Prison Reform Walk
Jon Katz,

You are invited to join the Prison Reform Walk in New York, which runs from March 15 – April 14, 1999. The walk is organized by my friend Jun Yasuda, who is a nun with Nipponzan Myohoji, a small peace-promoting Buddhist order that had a key role in the Pilgrimage to the Middle Passage that was in Washington last May, and which continues towards its culmination in South Africa. You can get more information from , or from Ms. Yasuda at: (518) 658-9301.



Adopt Rescued Death Row Dog
Michelle Buckman,

Adopt rescued mixed breed female dog. Tan color. Medium to large size. Between one and two years old. Well behaved and very sweet. Gets along well with children. Likes other dogs. Seeks loving home. Please contact if interested.



Hyde Elementary School Auction
Bill Starrels,

A reminder that we are still accepting tax deductible donations to the annual Anthony Hyde E.S. Auction. The auction will be held on Saturday March 20th 6- 9 pm. To donate an item or to advertise in the auction catalog please contact Liz Starrels at 202-338-1547 e-mail: Tickets will be on sale February 20th. Thanks to all those who have already responded. 100% of the proceeds go to the PTA.



’88 BMW 528e
Steven Bonorris,

Four door sedan, well maintained. Bronze/brown color. 112K miles. Reliable, agile automobile. Leather seats, power windows, power locks, power front seats, power sunroof. Over the past year, new clutch, new suspension components, tires, battery, starter. $4200 or best offer.


Phonograph Records
Nancy Davidson,

Does anyone know of a good way to sell or donate old phonograph records (remember those?). We have a large collection of classical, folk, and Broadway music and can't find a place that wants to buy very many of them. Any advice or info appreciated. E-mail me at or phone 202-337-6482.



Room Available in Brightwood Group House
Mike Livingston,

1/3 of our household is moving out to get married, leaving a friendly nonsmoker the opportunity to rent a room for $350 + utilities in a sunny old row house in Brightwood. (That's the quiet neighborhood just south of Walter Reed, between 16th & Georgia NW.) Takoma Metro station is a 20-minute walk (15 if you're in a hurry), and Dupont Circle and U Street are 20-minute bus rides (25 if you're in a hurry). Rock Creek Park is two blocks west and Georgia Ave. retail is two blocks east.

Your house mates would be Rob, an Irish music teacher and gourmet cook, and me, a freelance writer and social justice activist. It's a very basic room, but a great house and a great neighborhood. E-mail me or call 722-1650.



Prepare for Spring
Philip Walker, Jr.,

It's time to start getting your garden ready for the Spring growing season. Winter clean ups, mulching, pruning, weeding, fertilizing. One time maintenance visits to a year-round regimen. Shrub, tree, perennial, and seasonal flower installation. Outdoor lighting, deck treatments, water gardens, hard scapes, pathways. Many satisfied themail readers as clients.


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at . To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available at  .

All postings should also be submitted to , and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into each mailing.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)