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February 17, 1999

Wild Life in the City

Dear Animal Lovers and Party Animals:

The combination of postings in this issue (a wild life sighting by Margie Siegel, a message of appreciation for the Dupont Circle message in the last issue, and a nice range of entertainment options in the classifieds) made me wonder what themail readers do for wild life in your neighborhoods of DC. The wildest of my wild life options include watching a City Council hearing on Channel 8 and getting a hot dog at Costco, so I obviously need some helpful tips. Where do you go and what do you do for fun, for celebrations, to push the edge a bit?

Gary Imhoff


New Revenue for School Construction
Mary Filardo, The 21st Century School Fund,

The following is an excerpt from my February 4, 1999, testimony before the Education, Libraries and Recreation Committee. I am interested in reactions to the idea of using this new revenue source, Tobacco Settlement $$ for capital projects for public schools, libraries, recreation centers and UDC — essentially the local “education infrastructure” in DC.

Finally on the Budget and Finance side, we need the Council to work with the Mayor and the schools to identify a stable and sufficient source of funding to implement a comprehensive school facility modernization initiative. We would like the Mayor and the Council to explore the possibility of dedicating the revenue from the Tobacco settlement to the rebuilding of the Education Infrastructure of the District — our public schools, libraries, recreation centers and UDC. According to an analysis done by Morgan Stanley the District's share of the Tobacco settlement is $39 million per year until 2025, at which time it increases to $50 million per year. If the District securitizes this revenue stream, the District will be able to raise approximately $450 million for capital projects.

This revenue stream, combined with: the District's current capital commitment to schools; a state-type funding formula for funds from Congress; and revenue from public/private partnerships and improved asset management can provide the stable and sufficient funding the District needs to implement a ten year program to bring our public schools up to a standard that will enable them to produce students prepared for the 21st century.


DC Pays $1.8 Million for Others' Phone Bills
David F. Power,

This item displeases me: please visit the link at . The DC government has been routinely picking up the bills for many, many PRIVATE customers of Bell Atlantic. To the tune of at least one point eight million dollars every year. Who do we see to get our phone bills paid by DC? Our bills aren't big. Certainly all of us on DCWatch could hide our bills inside an annual overcharge of $1.7 million (not to mention another 900 thousand dollars last year in unlawful taxes and fees paid by the city to Bell Atlantic).

This sounds like some kind of unlegislated “set aside” for the Bell Atlantic phone company. Along the lines of a “preferred businesses free phones” set-aside, without city council even bothering to make it legal. I loved Council Member Jim Graham's quotes in the Post article. Which council committee had oversight of Bell Atlantic during the last four years? During the Barry terms? Who else besides liquor stores & military bases have been sucking up DC taxes this way?


Thanks for the Memories, Mark
Jean Lawrence,

Bittersweet memories flooded in as I read Mark Richards' tribute to his neighborhood at 17th and Q. I lived at 17th and Corcoran for 13 years and was a member of Foundry Church. That was a decade before I moved to Arizona, where I have lived for almost three years. Angie's was also one of my favorite stores. And when I see Clinton exiting church on the news (which has been a LOT lately), I get a pang. Despite the affordable housing, big skies, and sense of safety in Arizona, I still carry a teeny pilot light of a torch for ye old Safeway, Calvert Liquors, and the key lime pie at Boss Shepherd's. Remember the bike store (long gone) that was actually a numbers drop? A friend went to buy a bike there once and the corner crew looked at him like he was crazy.


Dig We Must
Ed T. Barron,

Been wondering why all the excavation of the D.C. streets lately? Curious about the stacks of stashed and staged plastic pipes in the AU neighborhood? It's all part of the plan, the plan for a communications technology evolution. Fiber optic cables will be laid in the plastic pipes by communications companies that will allow for fast Internet hook-ups, interactive cable television, and all kinds of whiz bang things you could probably not imagine with your telephones. And AU Park will be on the cutting edge of this technology when they are finished with this installation.

Of course if you want to be able to use this technology, say by calling out coffee when you wake up in the AM and having your coffee maker turn on automatically, you'll have to get ready by rewiring your entire house. You'll have to replace all those copper communications lines with fiber optic lines and a bunch of sensors. So, if you are going to be one of the first folks on the block to be part of this new technology you'd better get your house in order.


Odds and Ends
Margie Siegel,

Does anyone have recommendations of a school that could use Giant receipts besides the school Bob Levey is promoting? As an empty nester, my collection of receipts is waiting to be turned over to a good home, otherwise known as a school in a low income neighborhood where a few or several hundred dollars worth of receipts would help the students get computer equipment.

Any news on cabinet appointments from our new mayor? It has been awfully quiet.

On the wild life front, a few weeks ago, we were sitting on our Cleveland Park breakfast room, high above the hill, when we heard strange noises on the deck — we turned on lights and found a large raccoon staring back at us — it nonchalantly turned and walked down the flight of stairs off the deck, and other flight of stairs into the back yard. Thought your search for wildlife sightings would find this slightly more unusual than the deer we saw on Oregon Avenue Saturday nite —


UDC Helps!
Wayson P. Lee,

As a graduate of UDC, like almost any school, there will be the good and the bad students. UDC may have more than its fair share. I personally know of one millionaire from UDC ranks. How many of us, graduated college and earned a medical school awards? I know of at least two women, both practicing doctors AND graduates of UDC! One young lady, I dated, graduated UDC in three years, she practices in Richmond, Va. At what price do we access greatness? UDC has its faults, adm and board, one tends to think one or two bad choices for President, but three! Something's wrong with that picture!


Democracy and the Communities of Faith
Mark Schaefer,

It has long been apparent to me that the problem of voting representation for the District of Columbia was due to two main obstacles: lack of a universally appealing political argument (simple politics would dictate that Republicans and suburban politicians would be opposed to it); and, prior to the current litigation, lack of a universally persuasive legal argument. But what occurred to me was that there was a universally compelling moral argument in favor of full voting representation. With that in mind, in the fall of 1997 I founded the Foundry Democracy Project, a mission group of Foundry United Methodist Church. Our mission has been solely to advocate for voting representation as a moral issue, not a political or Constitutional one. Therefore, we do not advocate any particular solution to how voting representation should be obtained (statehood, retrocession, legislation, amendment), but rather argue for the simple moral proposition that the continuing deprivation of political rights to the citizens of the District of Columbia is an egregious moral wrong which must be addressed by all the communities of faith; that it is simply immoral to deny the franchise to citizens who give to the federal government their taxes, their service, their loyalty, and in times of war, their lives.

So what have we done? Since our inception in October 1997 we have educated the our local church community, our district, and our Conference. In June 1998, we were successful in getting a very strongly worded resolution through the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. That Conference is the governing body for all the United Methodist Churches of the District, Maryland (save the eastern shore), and the West Virginia panhandle. We also conducted a letter writing campaign to all the United Methodist members of Congress (you can read the resolution and the letter online at ). In 2000, when the national General Conference meets, we expect to have a resolution before that body. We have also joined with the Coalition for DC Representation with an eye toward replicating our efforts in other communities of faith.


Phonograph Records
William B. Menczer, William.Menczer@FTA.DOT.GOV

In response to Nancy Davidson's request for buyers of old phonograph records, I checked the Net and found that Rick's Records of Providence, R.I., telephone 401-421-3437 buys and sells old 33s. E-mail information about your collection, including your phone number to . Also check the Alta Vista search engine, using the terms “phonograph records” and you'll find dozens of other sources.



Rats in the District
Marguerite Arnold,

Speaking of rats in the District — we will be showing a documentary of the same name about the rat population in the city at Studio 650 — Washington's only monthly screening series for regionally produced indie film. Studio 650 is an initiative to provide focus to the regional independent film making community (both for distribution and funding). We are very pleased to be the first screening venue of Rats, which we believe is not only indicative of the talent of local filmmakers (and it is a truly amazing film), but also takes a positive, results oriented approach to tackling this problem.

Rats will be screening at Studio 650 on March 18. Doors open at 6:45 pm. Screening starts at 7:30. The address is 650 Massachusetts Avenue NW. We are a professional production forum, but, as part of our mission to increase access to independent film to a broad audience, we welcome members of the general public. Admission is free, however, given our track record so far (we have been around for only three months and our last two events were SRO in a studio seating 350), I would encourage those interested in attending to come early. For more information about the film (or Studio 650), please contact Marguerite Arnold at (202) 547-6951 or . Our next screening is February 25.


Artists’ Reception, Georgetown, Friday February 19
Michael K. Wilkinson,

You are cordially invited to an artists' reception at Veerhoff Galleries in Georgetown to celebrate the first time photographer Michael K. Wilkinson has participated in a show in a well known, formal art gallery in Georgetown. The show is entitled “Life in the City” and features the photography of Michael Wilkinson, plus oil paintings by J.K. Hannula and Alan Cummings. Together, the three artists represent a wide range of interpretation on the theme.

As the lone photographer, you would expect my work to be the most representational of all three artists. In fact, the photographs I selected for this show are actually mostly abstract. They feature, as always, bright and bold color statements, with subject matter ranging from macro flower shots to a dramatic, large-format photograph of the Manhattan Bridge taken from the Brooklyn side. Most or all of the photographs were taken in the middle of cities with populations of a quarter million or more, yet you would have NO IDEA just from looking at them. It's the way I see cities: through the tiny, colorful, thoughtful, thought provoking details. Veerhoff is located in a small group of galleries called Galleries 1054; 1054 31st Street, NW, Georgetown, between M Street and the Canal. It's on the right side of the street as you're heading toward the River.

I am very proud of this show, and I will be grateful for all of the support I get from my friends and “themail” colleagues. I would also gladly meet anyone at the gallery at any time during the duration of the show, which will be hanging until March 13. Otherwise, I can be reached at 202-483-2271.


Turning the Page Pool Tournament and Open Pool Fundraiser — Back by Popular Demand!
Jeff Gale,

Turning the Page will be hosting the Second Annual “Pooling Community Resources” fundraiser at Buffalo Billiards in Dupont Circle on February 22, 1999, from 7:30-10:30. Open pool, free food, shuffleboard, darts, and happy hour drink specials in addition to a 16-team pool tournament. Prizes, too! Tickets are only $20 each. If interested in the two-person team pool tournament, call ahead to sign up as it is first come first serve. For more information contact Turning the Page via e-mail at , by phone at (202) 343-9997 or via the Turning the Page web site at . For info on last year's event, go to:

Turning the Page is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation dedicated to enriching the educational development of District of Columbia public school students by channeling business and community resources towards programs that improve educational effectiveness. It is an organization working to help the District of Columbia community understand, value, and support its public schools by encouraging volunteerism, donations of money, goods, and services, as well as general community support. The primary goal of Turning the Page is to provide resources to enhance and support the role of public schools in improving the reading skills and general educational well-being of D.C. schoolchildren.



Looking for a Cleaning Service
Frank Pruss,

I am thinking of using a cleaning service for help in keeping up my townhouse in Reed-Cooke/Adams Morgan. I would need a service that is bonded, insured and would like references. Ideally it would be a service that would provide the same personnel, to the extent possible, on every visit. I have finally managed to get this place into a state where I am not embarrassed to let someone inside, and would like to keep it that way. Does The Mail's readership have any recommendations, either positive or negative?


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
No More Teachers' Dirty Looks: In December, D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman assembled a 35-member committee to hammer out a new funding formula for the system's 146 schools. The current approach, Ackerman had decided, stiffed schools with special needs while it over funded others. The solution, she said, was a budgetary tool used by the superintendent during her tenure with the Seattle public schools — the “weighted student formula,” which allots money to schools on the basis of their enrollment tallies, with extra outlays for students with special needs, and higher funding levels for the younger grades.
To get the plan through, Ackerman outfitted her committee with a strange mandate for a public panel: Don't leak word of the funding proposals to anyone outside the committee.
The gag order, however, didn't stifle Bell Multicultural High School Principal Maria Tukeva, who committed the shocking indiscretion of discussing Ackerman's proposal with principals of other District high schools.
Read the entire Loose Lips column this Friday at:

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
Saturday & Thursday: Tellabration & Black Georgetown Remembered. “Tellebration” takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, at Howard University's Fine Arts Building, 6th & Fairmont Sts. NW. Free; “Black Georgetown Remembered” begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Heurich House, 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW. $7.
January 20-28: Salute to Duke Ellington, at the National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium, 4th & Constitution NW. Free.
Saturday, Feb. 20: Ruthie and the Wranglers, 9 p.m. at the Metro Cafe, 1522 14th St. NW. More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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