The Whole Story
Dear Pen Pals:
David Harvey is angry. He thinks that I'm covering up for the city
government because the last issue of themail didn't include his entire pothole report, and
the meaning was completely distorted by leaving out the last three sentences. Sorry,
David, but I didn't deliberately truncate your message I just completely missed the
fact that it had a second screen. To show my good intentions, I'll reprint the whole thing
right at the top of themail.
Mark Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org ,
has suggested that we all include our neighborhoods in our signature lines. I don't have a
strong feeling about this, so I'll leave it up to you. If you want to add your
neighborhood, please feel free to do so. If you don't want to, then don't.
The Whole Pothole Report, and Nothing But the Whole
David S. Harvey, DSHarvey@compuserve.com
More on my pothole report ... Called 3/17 repeating various calls and
messages left since 3/2. Told They picked up the ticket... Came back afternoon
of 3/18 to find potholes patched. However... as of Monday, 3/22, one of the patches is
crumbling away, and there are two holes which they missed. Is this progress? I'll leave
others more charitable and less cynical about this continuously dreadful government to
Regarding the Mayor's plans to make big bucks off the sale or lease of the
UDC property: Don't bet the farm on it! For nearly 6 years, I worked on a recently ended
Federally funded project housed at UDC-Van Ness. As long as I worked there, the
surrounding office buildings were perpetually for rent and perpetually unrented. Our
project investigated moving into one of them. The agent indicated the landlord could
negotiate on a lot of our points. (Why not? At the time of our inquiry, the space had not
been rented for 2 years.) The building we were in was owned by UDC, but had formerly been
a bank that went belly up after mismanagement and the economic turmoil of the late '80s.
They couldn't sell it, and the City seized it for unpaid taxes, turning it over to the
University. An owner of a nearby building, a nice one too, right on Connecticut Avenue, as
a tax thing, tried to donate it to the University, but the administration was too
incompetent to consummate the deal!
In the meantime, the Safeway went, GHA went, and many of the little shops
changed hands several times. Even the pizza place, which you'd think was a sure winner
next to a University and a METRO exit, folded. For some reason, business has not made a
great showing of being attracted to the place, despite its apparent advantages. The Mayor
and his planners are aware of all this. (If not, they should be). On the other hand, the
neighborhood is safe and pleasant with good transportation ideal for students. What
amazes me is that the parents of the students haven't landed on the Mayor like a ton of
bricks for wanting to dump their children into a war zone in order to balance the books.
UDC Yesterday's Newspaper
Ed Barron, EdTB@aol.com
No I'm not referring to when I read Tom Sherwood's article in the NW
Current. I'm characterizing UDC in today's world. UDC may have had a viable past, but
those days are long gone. If there are five hundred universities in the Northeast, then
UDC would rank 501. This underutilized and under managed school is not providing
legitimate opportunities for the graduates of D.C.'s high schools that will serve them
well. Mayor Williams may well be putting UDC into a death spiral by moving the remains to
Anacostia. But that might be a fitting end to an era that is long gone. The University is
dead. Long live UDC.
In its place let us begin anew with a school or set of schools that will
provide opportunities for our high school graduates to develop some real skills that are
in demand in today's marketplace. Along with a new school at the college level we should
also build a technical (not vocational) high school modeled after the one in Brooklyn,
called Brooklyn Tech. That's a magnet school with a dynamite reputation. For those
students requiring esoteric courses, they should be allowed to attend other schools, in or
outside the area, using the local tuition for D.C. students bill being
discussed in Congress. The new UDC (and please change the name for the sake of those who
would attend) should establish a whole new mission and goals that would allow the school
to bring the high school students up to a real college entry level. Then they can begin to
provide educational courses and a curriculum that will meet the students' needs.
The Story of Cinderella of the Swamps, Her City
Halls and Mayors
Mark Richards, email@example.com
People call Washington many things, but I came across a new one used
earlier in the century in a 1922 article about the The Sunny Southwest"
Cinderella of the Swamps! Isaac Marcosson, who used the term, felt sure that
Cinderella of the Swamps would arise and find her golden slipper in the Southwest.
Pending legislation to beautify the river frontage caused the author to write
Cinderella is not only about to find her golden slipper but she is about to find her
good two shoes there. Wouldn't that be a cool name for a bar?!
More historic trivia: According to an article on The District Building
(1922), it's built on the bed of the Tiber or Goose Creek, the foundation has 4,000 piles,
and there is a copper box containing a number of documents relative to the
establishment and government of the National Capital planted in the foundation
if it wasn't looted yet. Wouldn't it be nice if we could find it and hidden
treasures that we could use to buy back our City Hall? Our fearless unelected leaders
abandoned our first City Hall on Judiciary Square in 1871 (with the sculpture in front
that District residents put up in honor of Lincoln) and sold it to the feds in 1873 for
half ($75,000) what they paid for it 51 years earlier. (Back then, they had rented half of
it out to the courts to help pay for it sound familiar?) In 1871, Congress
established the territorial government, and we got our first Presidentially appointed
Governor, David Henry Cooke (Feb. 28, 1871 to Sept. 1, 1873). He was succeeded by Governor
Alexander Robey Shepherd (Sept. 13, 1873 to June 20, 1874) ... who we all know brought us
an excellent sewer system, wonderful roads and trees, and a real estate boom in Dupont
Circle. And, of course, 100 years of authoritarian rule for proving
representative government didn't work...
In case anyone was wondering who were DC's elected mayors in the early
years (1802-1870), here's the list. As I understand it, they were all elected by the City
Council with the exception of the first one. Robert Brent (June 1, 1802 appointed),
Daniel Rapine (June 8, 1812 elected), James H. Blake (June 14, 1813), Benjamin G.
Orr (June 9, 1817), Samuel N. Smallwood (June 14, 1819), Thomas Carbery (June 14, 1822),
Samuel N. Smallwood (June 14, 1824), Roger C. Weightman (October 4, 1824), Joseph Gales,
Jr. (June 11, 1827), John P. Van Ness (June 14, 1830), William A. Bradley (June 9, 1834),
Peter Force (June 1, 1836), William Winston Seaton (June 8, 1840), Walter Lenox (June 10,
1850), John W. Maury (June 14, 1852), John Thomas Towers (June 12, 1854), William B.
Magruder (June 9, 1856), James G. Berret (June 14, 1858), Richard Wallach (August 26,
1861), Sayles Jenks Bowen (June 8, 1868), Matthew Gault Emery (June 13, 1870).
Could someone please explain why the old American Security bank building
at Connecticut and Calvert should be considered historic? Is the whole building an a
perfect example of 50's architecture, or just the facade? It feels as though this is a
smokescreen for some other issue do people want more parking, some residential
space there? I'm worried that the wonderful townhouse facing Connecticut Avenue will be
left to rot before the bank mess is sorted out.
Juan Williams on Thurgood Marshall
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month I attended a spellbinding talk by Juan Williams (Washington
Post reporter and political commentator) on the life of Thurgood Marshall. Several of
my friends wanted to attend the talk but couldn't, so I videotaped this presentation at
the Takoma DC Public Library and have put audio and video clips up onto the web. If you
have the free RealMedia Player software installed on your computer you can hear and view
these files at: http://stories.simplenet.com/friendstpk/
Juan Williams' previous book, Eyes on the Prize, was the
companion book to the PBS documentary series chronicling the struggles and achievements of
the civil rights movement. His new book, Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary,
received a glowing review in the New York Times in late December. I say we're
lucky to have such a distinguished scholar as a resident here in DC.
Number of People in an Apartment
Herschel Browne, email@example.com
I was told by someone who does building management for a living in DC that
the rule on how many people may occupy an apartment is two times the number of rooms plus
one. (Rooms don't include bathrooms or kitchen.) The typical one bedroom
apartment, then, with no separate dining room or den, is two rooms, and can hold up to
five people as a matter of right that is, a landlord may not refuse to rent to a
family of up to five people. Once rented to two people, of course, the lease may restrict
occupancy to that number.
Concrete Praise of a Concrete Contractor
Gabe Goldberg, firstname.lastname@example.org
Our front walk has some shifting concrete, and more alarmingly
there's visible erosion under our front steps. I was concerned that the erosion
could cause the steps to crack or separate from the house. So I called a concrete
contractor whose ads I'd seen a couple times in the local shopper newsletter. I like the
ads, since they emphasize quality rather than cheapest possible work. The owner, Mike
Murphy, arranged to visit the day after my call. He looked at the sidewalk and erosion,
and said that the steps were in fact supported adequately, that the erosion was cosmetic,
caused by ground settling since the house was built (13 years ago) and could be remedied
by filling gaps with dirt. He said that replacing the shifted walk concrete panels
which I'd thought would simplify filling under the steps would cost $1,200 and
wasn't worth doing. We talked a bit about issues related to concrete; he described
different ways of doing the work. I was happy to save the money by not doing the work, was
impressed with his honesty and demeanor. If I ever need concrete work, I'll call him. He's
at (703) 748-0453; http://washington.digitalcity.com/memurphy
CLASSIFIEDS EVENTS AND CLASSES
Hypnosis Is Real!
Wayson P. Lee, email@example.com
At the Chevy Chase Library, Connecticut Avenue and McKinley, south of
Chevy Chase Circle. From Friendship Heights Metro, E-2, E-4, April 7, 1999, 7:15-8:45 pm.
This is question and answer and how to relax & get rid of stress. WWW, aka
the Wizardry of Wonderful Wayson, received his training as a Certified Hypnotherapist from
the Hypnosis Institute of NY, a BA from UDC, and AA from Montgomery College. His next
movie, he's a concerned parent in a high school gymnasium. Twelve hours+ in a gym, for
just a few minutes of screen time! Cherry Falls.
Latin Jazz with a Back Beat
Sven Abow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bombs on Europe! In the safety of the New World I'll be playing with Mike
Wheaton and his band Jaleo this Friday, March 26th from 7-9 pm in the Borders Books/Music
store at the Pentagon City Mall. On bass fiddle will be Grant Smith, with whom I'm also
co-producing some music with in my cute studio in my cute house in the cute forest.
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