Taking a Short Break from themail
I'll be away for a short while, and themail will take a breather. We'll
miss just three issues, and resume publication on Sunday, March 14. Dorothy calls it a
mental health break, and I'm sure that's what it will be. Please keep sending
in your messages; please do continue your experiment with seeing how long it takes to get
potholes fixed by calling the Department of Public Works at 202-645-7055; and please let
us know how it goes.
This is a good issue; we address a wide range of topics. I'll miss hearing
from you, but we'll be back soon.
Pothole Repair on Capitol Hill
Dennis A. Dinkel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shortly after Mayor Williams took office, I called to report three
potholes two on 6th Street, SE, between the freeway and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Technically, they didn't qualify as potholes the city had done road repairs to 6th
and just hadn't gotten around to fixing where they made cuts in the asphalt. They had been
dangerous obstacles (people sometimes fly down 6th Street at what looks to be 50 and 55
miles an hour and would swerve radically when they saw the pavement cuts in front
of them) for maybe two or three months. I had called the Barry administration numerous
times, all to no avail.
Remember, this was around the time of the snowstorms and several major
water main breaks in the city. The Public Advocate (the much-lamented David Howard) called
me back within the day to tell me they were overwhelmed with the water main problems, but
they would put my two reported potholes on a list and they were fixed within, I
believe, the week. For close to two years now, there has been a massive dip in
Pennsylvania Avenue at the intersection with 3rd Street, SE. It's where a manhole cover
exists, the pavement has sunk down around it. Cars (again speeding) down the Avenue would
dodge to avoid the dip, almost causing several accidents. I had complained about this
hazard for two years one day after I called the pothole number, it was
repaired. The government in the District of Columbia is working.
Ninety-two thousand dollars a year for D.C. Council Members who are part
time workers, many with good paying day jobs. That's a payroll of over $1.2M for the 13
Council members on a Council that has nothing to brag about for its performance over the
last twelve years. Add to that the salaries of some 140 support personnel (many of them in
patronage jobs) and you have a total payroll that's closing in on $4 million (and that
doesn't count the overhead for those persons). This is another example of the bloated
bureacracy that we have in the D.C. Government. We have far too many highly paid
watchers instead of doers. This largesse brings to mind a few
questions. Why do we have 13 Council Members? Is the Council modeled after The Last
Supper? We only have 8 Wards, why do we need more than 8 Council persons? If we can cut
back to 8 Council persons we should be able to reduce the support staff to about 80
The Mayor is looking for an additional $6 M annually to get out of a bad
contract signed with the developer for restoring and modifying the District Building. it
will take $6 M a year to buy out the developer. Four million each year (theoretically)
would be saved by moving personnel back into the District Building from rented quarters.
By cutting back the size of the Council and the supporting staff that additional $2 M in
savings will be easy pickings. The smaller council and staff will take up lots less room
in the District Building, too. Let's eliminate this outrageous giveaway of hard earned
Unless you call before 3:30, you get into a total long tangle of voice
mails and computer messages can we start the contest when we all can call during
business hours? Or do you want to alert readers to the hold on for a moment problem of
calling and getting nowhere after business hours?
Rich Shake Those Pom-Poms Mintz, email@example.com
Well, I didn't think such a thing was possible, but I just got my D.C.
safety and emissions inspection in under 10 minutes and I spent 6 of them waiting
in line for the entry booth. Everyone was polite and professional and served me with a
The Williams Administrations Early Days
Dorothy Brizill, firstname.lastname@example.org
What's going on with the Williams administration? The top appointments
Mayor Williams are making are, by and large, people who don't know the city well, don't
know the neighborhoods at all, and don't know the issues, and many of them are temporary
appointments or on temporary detail from the Chief Financial Officer's office. What has
happened to the citizens who helped draft Williams and who rallied behind him in the early
days of his campaign? Many of them are citizen activists with a deep knowledge of the
city, who really want reform. But with few exceptions, not only have they not been given
appointments, they have not been consulted about appointments or about major policy
initiatives of the new administration. In fact, most of them have been unable to see or
speak with Williams since his inauguration.
[To see a listing of staff titles and salaries in the Williams
Administration, see http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor/990212c.htm
and the related testimony and organizational charts listed on http://www.dcwatch.com/mayor ]
Raising the Educational Standards in the D.C.
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
D.C. Police Chief Ramsey has proposd that new hires to the police force
have minimum of two years of college education. This proposal is excellent and would
result in more effective policing in the District. The D.C. Council does not support this
proposal because they claim it will preclude hiring District residents who don't meet the
increased educational requirements. There is a solution to these diverse views and that is
to make use of an underutilized and underperforming facility to provide the education
required by District residents. This is an excellent time to establish a Police Academy at
UDC. Residents who otherwise qualify for hiring by the Police Dept., but lack the
educational credentials, would attend the Academy for one year and then be hired by the
Police Dept. During the following three years the new hire would have to complete the
second year at the academy on a part time basis. Similarly, those current police persons
who do not have two years of college education should be given a reasonable amount of time
(and support) to attend the academy on a part time basis to get their two full years of
There are three benefits of this proposal. First, the educational level of
the D.C. police force will be raised to a high level. Second, District residents and
current police persons will have the opportunity to establish some real educational
credentials; and, third, we will be making much better use of an underutilized and
underperforming UDC. This is a win-win-win opportunity that the District should not pass
In the early 90's people thought I was crazy for buying a condo in DC, the
city was a bad investment and condos were even worse. Today my mailbox is regularly full
of desperate letters from realtors wanting to sell something, anything in DC. They're
begging me to consider selling and promising me huge money. My building has gone from 60%
renters to 10% renters as longtime landlords sell their rental units for big profits. The
average selling price in my neigborhood is higher than the listed price and there are less
than 20 two bedroom units on the market in Dupont, most going for 250 grand and up.
List of DC Neighborhoods
Mark Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org
Following is a list of DC neighborhoods, as indicated in the old 1967
Draft Comprehensive Plan, which has EXCELLENT detailed maps and analysis (better than
current versions). It shows how the fed. govt. systematically planned the decentralization
of the federal establishment from the federal district into the surrounding states, via
corradors and metro radiating from DC. It's interesting that what was once
considered a CITY is now a NEIGHBORHOOD: i.e., Georgetown, Hamburg, Wash. City.
Here's the list as it stood in '67-any updates? Adams Morgan, American
University Park, Anacostia, Barnaby Woods, Barry Farms, Bellview, Benning, Benning
Heights, Brentwood Village, Brightwood, Brightwood Park, Brookland, Buena Vista, Burleith,
Burrville, Capitol Hill, Capitol View, Carrolsburg, Cathedral Heights, Chevy Chase,
Children's Hospital, Chillum, Cleveland Park, Colonial Village, Columbia Heights, Congress
Heights, Crestwood, Deanewood, Douglass, Downtown, Dupont Circle, East End, Eastland
Gardens, Eckington, Edgewood, Fairfax Village, Fairmont Heights, Farragut Circle, Floral
Hills, Foggy Bottom (Hamburg), Forest Hills, Fort Davis Park, Fort Dupont Park, Franklin
McPhearson Square, Friendship Heights, Garfield Heights, Georgetown, Glover Park, Good
Hope, Grant Park, Greenway, Hawthorne, Hillbrook, Hillcrest, Ivy City, Judiciary Square,
Kalorama Heights, Kenilworth, Kingman Park, Knox Hill, Lamond, Langdon, Lanier Heights,
LeDroit Park, Lincoln Heights, Lincoln Park, Logan Circle, Mahaning Heights, Manor Park,
Marshall Heights, Massachusetts Heights, McLean Gardens, Michigan Park, Mount Pleasant,
Mt. Vernon Square, Naylor Gardens, North Cleveland Park, Northwest Triangle, NW Urban
Renewal, Park View, Petworth, Pinehurst Circle, Potomac Palisades, Randle Highlands, Rock
Creek Gardens, Scott Circle, Shaw, Shepherd Park, Shipley Terrace, Southeast, Southwest,
Spring Valley, Stanton Park, Summit Park, Takoma Park, Tenley Town, Thomas Circle,
Trinidad, Truxton Circle, Twining, Union Station, University Heights, Washington Circle,
Washington Highlands, West End, Westminister, Woodland, Woodley Park, Woodridge.
Color on the Front Page of the Washington Post
Phil Shapiro, email@example.com
See if you can spot the similarity: A big city newspaper decides to
add color photos to the front page of the newspaper to help stem declining readership. A
stage-actor decides to buy new costumes to help stem a declining career. This brings
to mind that nugget of wisdom from Adlai Stevenson: Newspaper editors are people who
carefully sift the wheat from the chaff, and then print the chaff.
Why the Post would spend big bucks to add color to the front page
is totally beyond me. What desperately needs to be done is to improve the content of the
newspaper, making it better serve the needs of the residents of the city. The Post
doesn't get it. And now they don't get it in color.
Mr. Tracht's, aka The Grease Man's, termination was due.I don't know why
it took over 10 yrs to do the right thing, but it's about time. Personally, I don't care
what he says or how racist his comments can get with one exception. If anyone, public
figure, journalist, or John Doe next door says any remark that disrespects the dead of
someone of another race or religion or nationality he/she should face whatever legal or
ethical actions taken against that person with more maturity than the comment itself. If
that person suggest, or imply with that comment something which could invoke even a single
person to become violent, then he/she should face the legal or ethical actions because
that person is fully aware what power the transmitted media has on the audience that
selects to listen to that person with some sense of authority. Especially the weak ones,
or those who feel that some of their value of a person and sovereignty has
been dimenished as had many racists have over these past decades.
While this doesn't exactly qualify as fun in the pure sense of
the word, I offer the following for beauty and solitude. A friend of mine who died a few
years ago is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery off North Capitol Street. I visit his grave on
his birthday and certain holidays that I have special memories of; and I always manage to
wander down to the ivy grove where Henry Adams' wife is buried. I believe the story is
that she committed suicide and Adams commissioned the artist St. Gaudens (I may be off on
the spelling) to do a monument for her. The sculpture is of a cowled figure and gives off
an air of serenity, peace, and
comfort. It's obviously a little known area of Washington (I guess not that many
sightseers go tromping around Rock Creek Cemetery), because I seldom run into anyone else
It's especially lovely at Easter and the cemetery is gorgeous in the fall.
There's a charming little chapel on the grounds of the cemetery, St. Paul's; and if it's
unlocked, I often sit silently in a pew for a few minutes, just contemplating how in the
midst of the bustle, noise, and hurlyburly of a major city, one can find so much quiet and
peace. As I said, it may not qualify as fun but I do leave their with
Wildlife in Dupont East, Fun on You, and Activities
for Young People
Mark Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our wildlife don't count although I see there is a film
about them now. A monkey looked at me through the bedroom window when I visited my parents
in S. Africa-does that count? Also, quite a few of our residents have wild lives, but I'm
not going there. The U Street corridor is fun, avant-garde.
Baseball: We're not St. Louis we don't need a baseball stadium or a
prison in our downtown. Slow down on the Grand Projects. I'd prefer a youth
initiative-more baseball, soccer, art, etc. for kids. Or a grocery store initiative. If
the private sector wants to bring big baseball here, fine. But no city subsidy, no mayoral
time or council time on this they all look stupid in those baseball caps. Hire
nuisance property inspectors. I'd like to see a list of what citizens need and want ahead
of big baseball, but I doubt anyone in our city govt. will bother to even ask.
Baseball Stadium is a Major League Rip-Off
Steve Donkin, email@example.com
Randy Wells speculated on the potential economic development stemming from
the proposed baseball stadium, stating that, regardless of where it is sited, building it
would require a substantial private and public investment. The fact is that
all big-money stadium developments like this are little more than taxpayer rip-offs with
numerous hidden public subsidies, and the benefits to the surrounding community are
minimal or nonexistent. Oriole Park at Camden Yards is just one example. It was built
nearly entirely with public, not private, funds, primarily in the form of a state-run
lottery (essentially a tax on poor people,
since they are invariably the majority of lottery players), plus a $30 million
contribution from federal transportation funds for road improvements servicing the
stadium. The lottery brought in over $400 million to the state treasury, which was
promptly handed to Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams for his pet project. As far as I
know, Williams paid nothing out of his own pocket for the stadium.
The state could have used the lottery money for something useful like
improving public health services or education. Instead it chose to waste it on padding the
bank accounts of a few rich developers and team owners. The neighborhoods around Camden
Yards are still rampant with hopelessness and despair, but these unpleasantries are kept
far enough away from the fans motoring in from the suburbs not to spoil their enjoyment of
the game. And in squandering its lottery revenue on the stadium, the state blew any
chances with a now lottery-weary legislature for similarly raising funds for socially
beneficial uses. The financing scheme for a D.C. stadium (most likely at Mt. Vernon
Square) supposedly is still being worked out (although who knows? maybe they've
already plotted that far ahead and are now just figuring how to convince us that stealing
public funds is in our interest, ala the convention center). We better start nipping this
loser in the bud now, or we'll all be writing blank checks in the near future.
Jessica Vallette, firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea of a baseball stadium is a great one that deserves the high level
of enthuesiasm that Williams has for the concept. However, once again, we must consider
the proposed locations for the stadium and the impact it would have on existing
neighborhoods. I fully support the renovation of RFK into a baseball stadium the
idea meets a basic urban and environmental rule, reuse what you have. I am more willing to
have the city spend my tax dollars on reusing a disused building than on building a new
stadium next door (thereby sucking up more greenspace and requiring new materials) or
building one in the downtown where housing would be better placed. Where would themail
readers like to have their tax dollars spent?
Of course, we can't forget that the so-called budget surplus won't last
and if the city committs its tax dollars to a stadium, we must ask if we can somehow
ensure that schools will get preference in the event of a shortage. My guess is the answer
is probably not.
Three Does and a Don't
Ed Dixon, email@example.com
To confirm Tom Berry's three does, I've seen them a little farther in off
Foxhall a block north of Reservoir. Doing what they do best, munching on the edge of the
forest. My wife spotted three off Delcarlia while I of course was watching the road. I
assume these are the same three and are moving up and down the green ways on the west side
of town. As far as birding goes, anyone who takes a nice boat trip up the quiet Anacostia
in the early early morning will see a good variety of both very large and small birds.
To comment on Victor Chudowsky's report on the academic benefits of DCPS's
high expenditure's: The current state of the schools physically is abysmal as well
(considering the amount of money going into the system). There seems to be no answer as to
why they are in this condition or any accountability. The morale of many engineers in the
schools as well as principals, I've met, is somewhere between fatalistic and cynical. The
facilities administrators have been condescending, as if they had everything under
control. This all from my experience as a volunteer in an organization bent on changing
this situation. Good hearts push for change. The overpaid braniacs have failed us.
Reading about all of the wildlife sightings reminded me of my own! Last
summer, my boyfriend and I found a HUGE orange moth (I thought it was a butterfly) on the
side of the escalator coming out of the Metro in Arlington. It looked like a fake plastic
toy, it was that big and colorful. My boyfriend works in a lab at Georgetown, studying
butterflies, so we captured it and took it there. It turned out to be a Royal Walnut Moth.
It laid a bunch of eggs and then disappeared from its outdoor enclosure. The eggs hatched
into the tiniest little black caterpillars you've ever seen, ant-size things, which grew
into hot-dog-size monsters (called hickory horned devils) in a matter of
weeks. They are North America's largest caterpillar, and they have large horn-like parts
on their heads that they will swing at anything that tries to touch them, especially
fingers. They are all in cocoons now and I'm eagerly awaiting the day when they emerge!
Wild Life, and the Wild Life
T. Jr. Hardman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greetings, I thought I'd like to remind those who were here, and those who
are new, about raccoons in urban areas, the District in particular. During the late 80s,
due to all of the garbage lying around town and the complete lack of natural predators,
local raccoon populations soared to the point where literally every corner drain had mama
raccoon trundling in and out to feed her litter of (generally) four kits. When the rabies
hit, there was a period of about a month when you couldn't hardly walk down an alley
without seeing some raccoon staggering about champing its jaws at the air. A month later,
the population had crashed and it was nearly-impossible to find a live raccoon anywhere
Now, nearly a decade later, we see the pattern repeating. It should be
noted that in the surrounding jurisdictions, in an effort to eradicate rabies from the
wild, various ag-departments are spreading baits which inoculate against rabies. The
District might well wish to consider a similar approach to fail to do so will
likely result in a recurrence of a plague of mad racoon as in the late '80s, though it
must also be noted that if the raccoon are immunized in this manner, their population will
continue to climb to the point where encountering a raccoon will be about as common as
enountering an alleycat.
[Continued next issue, on March 14 Gary Imhoff]
Just a few nights ago while coming hom from work (on Portal Drive just
near Rock Creek Park in Silver Spring) I saw 4 deer cross the road what a thrill!
As a bicycler along the creek and old tow path (pre floods), I've seen a fox, a family (?)
of 3 deer (in day light) and turtles basking in the sun.
I would like to apologize if the picture on the Tournament Darts
International (TDI) page offended anyone. I did not know that the person who updates the
page put a photo of a young woman suggestively sucking a lollipop. I did not mean to
offend anyone, so please accept my apology. I do not maintain their website and had no
idea someone had added this picture.
Also, playing darts is not confined to the league nights! Any of the dart
bars mentioned have boards up all the time and a lot of league players play on non-league
nights. Mention that you'd like to know more about league play and don't be surprised if
someone tries to recruit you! The leagues love to welcome new players. Happy Shooting!
I an looking for information on local coed softball leagues that start in
the spring. I am organizing this for All Souls Unitarian Church at 16th & Harvard
sts., NW. We are interested in leagues that play in the District (preferably Brookland,
Columbia Heights, on the Mall, or Upper NW), evenings and weekends, adult / coed. I would
appreciate any guidance or information you can give me. Please forward information to:
Mike Hill, National Building Museum, 401 F St., NW, WDC 20001, 202-272-2448 [w], email@example.com
Katherine Waldbauer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, March 1, 7:30 PM: All are welcome to Decision on
Kosova, a public forum moderated by journalist Roy Gutman. Speakers include
Congressman Jim Moran, and others, sponsored by the Bosnia Support Committee of D.C.
Location: the Arlington Public Library, 1015 No. Quincy Street, Arlington. Directions:
From Memorial Bridge follow signs to Rt. 50 W. Turn right at 10th St exit. Follow 10th St
to Fairfax Dr. Turn right at light at Quincy St. Library is 1 block on right. The library
is also two blocks from the Virginia Square metro stop. Call Peter Slavin at (703)
281-7195 for additional information.
For all that have missed it last time, here we go again: This Saturday I
will drum with my friend Mike Wheaton and his band Jaleo down at Kraemer Books on
Connecticut Ave. right above Dupont Circle. On bass will be the talented Grant Smith.
Jaleo is Latin Pop with a back beat plus some Jazz Standards. We'll play from 10pm til
2am. If you stop by you can just browse through the books or grab a chair or a table and
chill with their delicious foods and our tunes.
Tasting Society International, March/April Events
Charlie Adler, cadler@DGS.DGSYS.COM
1) March 23rd Wine Dinner at Le Tarbouche Restaurant, 1801 K St.,
NW, 7-9 pm, NW, $50, tax and tip inclusive. Taste over 30 different wines from our past
events matched to a sumptuous menu of Lebanese sausages, calamari, shwarma, tuna tartar,
and an extensive vegetarian assortment of Mediterranean specialties. Well finish the
meal with Port and Cognac! 2) March 26th Cuban Interests Section (Embassy
equivalent) Cuba Libre Day-Dinner, Dancing, and Rum Tasting! 7-10 p.m., 2630 16th St., NW,
$60. Gorgeous turn-of-the-century mansion Full dinner buffet of native cuisine, rum
tasting, mojitos, Cuba Libres and more! Live salsa band-wear your dancing shoes! 3) April
6th Spring Wine Xtravaganza! Sponsored by Fresh Fields of Georgetown and Arlington,
7-9 p.m., Galleria at Lafayette Centre, 1155 21st St., NW, $35. 100 different wines to
taste, gourmet food samplings from Fresh Fields, order wines on sale: bottles 10% off,
cases 15% off. 4) April 21st Wine Basics 101, with Michael Franz, Wine Columnist
for the Washington Post, 7-9 p.m., Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P St., NW, $35. Learn the
basics with Michael Franz, wine columnist for the Washington Post: how to match wine and
food, differences in grape varieties, how to purchase and order wine, and more!
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
CLASSIFIEDS TRYOUTS AND CLASSES
Musical Needs Musicians
Chad Eric Hickerson, Chadster@aol.com
The upcoming Spring production of The Foundry Players is the musical
version of 'Schoolhouse Rock Live!' and are in need of musicians. Piano, Bass, Drums. All
positions are volunteer and you will have a great time, we promise! And you never know,
you might even get hooked on theater! Performances are May 7-23 but help will be needed
throughout the rehearsal process. Call 202-332-3454 for more information. The Players are
located at 16th and P Streets, NW at the Foundry United Methodist Church. We are DC's
oldest running community theatre, having been putting on shows for 53 years.
I am a Psychologist who has been teaching a class in New England called
Naturally Thin; a non-diet approach to lifelong thinness. The information is based on the
findings of mind, body and nutrition researchers. In the class you learn how to tune into
your body's specific metabolic needs for food, how to program your thinking as a thin
person and how to boost your metabolism. It works. You can be thin and free up energy to
create the life and joy you dream of.
I am organizing classes in D.C. for late March and April. Each class meets
for 2 hours and costs $15. If you are interested, email me for more information.
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