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April 11, 1999

News Radio

Dear Reporters:

It's not just radio. We used to have competition among local news radio stations. We used to have several local newspapers; now we have just one and a quarter, if you go by circulation figures (although the Times frequently scoops the Post in the Metro section). Local public television stations used to cover local news and public affairs; now WETA does nothing and WHUT (channel 32) throws us crumbs. Local commercial television stations used to have public affairs programming; now it has all but disappeared in favor of superficial headline news.

Cable and satellite have vastly expanded our options for national and international news with multiple 24 hour news channels. But our local options have eroded significantly. Can the Internet fill the gap? Several local television and radio stations have web sites with frequently updated new stories, but these are still of limited usefulness. Ah, well, my recommendation is simple: forget all the rest, all the news you really need is in themail — as long as you keep sending it in.

Gary Imhoff


News Radio
Leslie Ruskin,

When I lived in DC I always listened to NPR whenever I was in my car. Now that I live in Taiwan, I tune my computer into NPR real audio site whenever I can to get that familiar, in depth, news that I miss from the good ole' US of A. :)

David Sobelsohn,

Larry Seftor writes “I like to listen to radio news on my car radio when I [drive] home from work.” If Larry drives home between 4 and 8 p.m., he can listen to commercial free news on one of 2 public radio stations, either WETA-FM (90.9) (4-7 p.m.) or WAMU-FM (88.5) (6-8 p.m.). Neither, however, has much local news during those times. Then, of course, there's C-SPAN radio at around 90.1 FM.

Guy Raz, Adams-Morgan,

I have just the solution for Larry Seftor's news radio dilemma. As any fan will tell you, National Public Radio is probably the best source for broadcast news in America. The next time you get in the car to drive to or from work, tune into one of two local NPR affiliates. In the morning, Morning Edition broadcasts on WAMU (88.5 FM). In the evenings, beginning at 4 p.m., WETA (90.9 FM) broadcasts All Things Considered. At 6:30 PM, WAMU picks up the remaining hour and a half of ATC until 8 PM. There's a newscast at the top and bottom of each hour and in-depth news stories in-between.

Paul Penniman,

I've lived here twenty years, and I've always found WTOP's news coverage horrible: poorly written, superficial, and hopelessly parochial. Instead, I listen to NPR at the top of the hour — skimpy, but clear; and C-Span radio, 90.1. WMAL also has decent and better written news and information than WTOP.

E. James Lieberman,

I find NPR commercials terribly annoying. No, they're not as bad as regular commercials, but I find WPFW-FM (89.3 FM) refreshingly free of such. “Democracy Now” at 9 AM weekdays is a good leftward look at the world. The afternoon news (Pacifica Radio) comes on at 5:30. The rest of the day has jazz, some call ins and some “alternative medicine” stuff that has to be taken with some grains of salt. I grew up with KPFA in Berkeley, for which I am grateful.


UDC Study
James E. Taylor Jr., The Park Skyland Civic Association,

For some unexplainable and, some obvious reasons, the “mess” has hit the fan regarding the mayor's proposal for “a study,” I repeat, “a study” to be done by an appointed, hopefully unbiased, commission to look into the feasibility of moving UDC, due to astronomical costs, in UDC's budget, for renovation, at the Van Ness site. The, again “proposed study” announced by the nayor, has not etched anything in stone. For those east of the river, however, have continually been denied inclusion in quality economic development, in the past, and is thus very interesting to read about the indignant objections to the mayor's audacity to want to include, east of the river, as a possible site. It is also ironic that I haven't heard of or seen any objections from the same sources for building a prison east of the river. The rhetoric of using race, crime, cultural diversity, giving up land we don't own, and fear, is being done solely to create this scenario but those of us east of the river will not engage in this kind of divisional tactics. We support the mayor's proposal to study the issue and the east of the river area deserves first consideration.


UDC Was Near Its Peak Attendance When I Graduated, ’93
Wayson P. Lee,

UDC has problems, lack of control, poor management, and an unstable/non-caring board of trustees. Had they listened to the students, UDC might have been led by someone else. They asked for student input, but chose whom they wanted. C'est la vie.

In June, I will get a another chance at Hypnosis; last week's workshop went well. Attendees and participants felt the power! In two months — Past Life-Regression. Holding sub-workshops to determine the most likely candidates for PL-R. I am taking additional classes for this June workshop.


Web Form for DPW Services
Bob Andrew,

On the newly redesigned DPW web site at the city has provided a submittal form under “DPW Services.” Any DC resident or business can submit a request for service in one of the following categories.

Abandoned Vehicles, Alley Cleaning/Lights/Repair, Bicycles, Bridges, Bulk Collection, Bus/Rail Issues, Bus Shelters, Claim for Damages, Cleanup, Contract Bidders List, Curb & Gutter Repair, Dead Animal, Emergency Coordination, Employment, Energy Assistance, Energy Conservation, Eviction, FOIA Inquiry, Grass Mowing, Guardrail, Handicapped Parking, Illegal Dumping, Infant Seats, Info. About a Contract, Interrogatory, Leaf Collection, Legislation, License Suspension/Revocation, Litter Cans, Maps, Meeting with a DPW Rep, Metro Green Line Construction. Misuse of a Government Vehicle, New Curb
and Gutter, New Sidewalk, Parking Enforcement, Parking Meter, Parking Regulation, Parking Signs, Pavement Markings, Potholes, Public Space Permits, Rats, Recycling Bin, Recycling Collection, Residential Permit Stickers, Sanitation Enforcement, School Transit Subsidy, Sidewalk Repair, Snowy & Icy Conditions, Street Cleaning, Street Name Signs, Street Repair, Streetlights, Supercan, Traffic Signals, Traffic Signs, Trash Collection, Tree Maintenance, Utility Repairs, Vacant Lot, Zoning Review.

This is a solid first beginning to “on-demand” requests that are stored within a DPW database and could be used for performance metrics. The form requires the user to provide an e-mail address, presumably for DPW to reply with action taken. The form could use some improvement from a “one-size-fits-all” form e.g. how about separate forms for “Requests for Service” versus “Requests for Information,” or separate forms for Residential vs. Commercial? But these are just teething details — well done DPW!

[I'm going to use the form as soon as I finish doing themail — if you use it, please report back so that we'll know whether it works. — Gary Imhoff]


Capital Gains Tax
Jon Desenberg, Adams-Morgan,

It's tax time again and one I haven't heard people talk about much is DC's Capital Gains Tax. I was a little surprised to see it's 10 percent, on top of the Federal Tax. I've learned to deal with the high property, restaurant and income tax, but this one really got to me. Does anyone know the Cap Gains rate in MD and VA?


Some Are Just Not Going to Take It Anymore
Larry Seftor,

I have lived in the D.C. area for about 25 years. During that time Governments and public institutions in this area have often under performed with the sure knowledge that the citizenry has no choice but to “take it.” If you want a driver's license you have to put up with DMV. If you want to drive you have to put up with increasingly common and worsening traffic jams due to inadequate roads. And if you “do the right thing” and get out of your car and take Metro, you are faced with totally inadequate parking facilities (as noted recently in the Post), falling standards of service, and now trains that break down. Faced with unreasonable, unavoidable situations people do what one would expect them to do — they rebel. Passengers become unruly on Metro trains and, most recently, refuse to follow instructions, creating a mutiny. Drivers drive aggressively in response to mounting frustration and an attempt to take control of a situation that is totally out of control.

What shocks me is not that a train full of Metro riders rebelled, but that Metro management was surprised that it happened. I'm also a little surprised that Metro General Manager White blames aging equipment. I could have predicted 19 years ago that a one-year-old rail car would be 20 years old in 1999. Since Metro management couldn't do that simple calculation and take steps to ensure proper maintenance and replacement, we've all been let down. People out on the roads or on Metro are not the villains. They are taxpayers who go to work, go home, pick up their children from daycare, go to restaurants to eat, and generally conduct business according to the norms of our society. If public institutions such as Metro and our regional traffic departments are not up to the job, anarchy results. In fact, with a mutiny last week and a fist fight several days later, anarchy on Metro seems close at hand.


A DC Tragedy: Death of a Long-winded, Short-lived Patriot
Mark Richards, Dupont East,

In identifying what Presidents have said about DC, I came across William Henry Harrison's Inaugural Address on March 4, 1841. After reading what seemed to be a very long address I discovered that “Old Tippecanoe,” a 68-year-old retired general of “Indian campaign” fame, is the guy the media make fun of every Inauguration as they time the President's address... he was from Berkeley, Virginia, and has the distinction of speaking longest — an hour 45 — in a snowstorm, greeting crowds, going to parties, and dying of pneumonia a month later. In his address, he pointed out the “striking contrast ... in the conduct of candidates for offices of power and trust before and after obtaining them,” and proceeded to identify areas of Presidential authority that would, if misinterpreted, betray the letter or spirit of the Constitution. He warned of “the never-failing tendency of political power to increase itself” and of “virtual monarchy.”

That's where DC comes in. He said: “The people of the District of Columbia are not the subjects of the people of the States, but free American citizens. Being in the latter condition when the Constitution was formed, no words used in that instrument could have been intended to deprive them of that character. If there is anything in the great principle of unalienable rights so emphatically insisted upon in our Declaration of Independence, they could neither make nor the United States accept a surrender of their liberties and become the subjects — in other words, the slaves — of their former fellow-citizens. If this be true — and it will scarcely be denied by anyone who has a correct idea of his own rights as an American citizen — the grant to Congress of exclusive jurisdiction in the District of Columbia can be interpreted, so far as respects the aggregate people of the United States, as meaning nothing more than to allow to Congress the controlling power necessary to afford a free and safe exercise of the functions assigned to the General Government by the Constitution. In all other respects the legislation of Congress should be adapted to their peculiar position and wants and be conformable with their deliberate opinions of their own interests.”

“The spirit of liberty is the sovereign balm for every injury which our institutions may receive. On the contrary, no care that can be used in the construction of our Government, no division of powers, no distribution of checks in its several departments, will prove effectual to keep us a free people if this spirit is suffered to decay; and decay it will without constant nurture.” Amen.


Baseball Demographics
Thomas C. Hall, Washington Business Journal,

As a reporter covering the effort to bring baseball back to D.C., I can clear up the static Larry “News Radio” Seftor is receiving from WTOP's split personality as a news/baseball station. (Full disclosure: WTOP carries live Washington Business Journal reports twice hourly.) WTOP broadcasts Orioles games because “They make a ton of money for the station,” according to WBJ radio/TV anchor Jeff Claybaugh. WTOP outbid other stations to win the right to be the exclusive O's station, because baseball delivers a captive audience with well-defined demographics that make advertisers drool.

Which brings me to Ed T. Barron's “puzzlement” over the lily-white crowds at baseball exhibition games at RFK (and O's games at Camden Yards), compared to the far greater diversity seen attending Wizards' games. It is well known that baseball attracts an older, whiter demographic than basketball. It has more to do with each sport's cultural anthropology, i.e., Who played What sport growing up, than the demographic composition of the team itself, ticket prices or the racial composition of the surrounding community. Before the PC police haul me away, let me tell you my source: Robert L. Johnson, chairman and founder of Black Entertainment Television here in Washington. Johnson mounted a furious effort to gain ownership of an NBA franchise — even offering to build MCI Center for Abe Pollin — but this African-American multimillionaire is not interested in investing in a D.C. baseball team. “The baseball demographic is wrong for us,” Johnson told me recently. “Basketball offers us a lot more ... synergy.”


Odds on Baseball
Paul Penniman,

Inner city folk don't have any interest in baseball any more; unlike Yankee Stadium years ago, the fandom is yuppie New Yorker readers like me. At soccer and hockey games also there are no black fans, although certainly lots of Hispanics at soccer games. I did notice that with the move from RFK the Redskins lost a lot of black fans; I never felt like DC is/was integrated except at the football games at RFK.


Don't Go Away, Howard
Ann C. Barron,

The NFL may treat Howard Milstein like a bum in Raljohn but he could be a genuine hero in the “real” Washington. D.C. We need a knight in shining armor to take the lead in our quest for a major league baseball team. With $800 million in his cash drawer, Howard Milstein could buy the Expos, build a world class stadium, and still have enough left over to buy some ball players who could make the Washington area team (The Potomacs??) a real contender. Mr. Mayor, please call Howard.


Refugee Aid
Clare Feinson,

The attached list was forwarded to me — I think it is the most complete list I have seen of relief organizations working with the Kosovar refugees.

Adventist Development and Relief Agency, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904, 1-800-424-2372
American Friends Service Committee, Kosovo Relief Fund, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 711 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10017, 212-885-0832; 212-885-0889,
American Jewish World Service, Kosovar Relief Effort, 989 Avenue of the Americas, 10th floor, New York, N.Y. 10018, 212-736-2597
American Red Cross, International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013, 800-HELP-NOW, Spanish: 800-257-7575,
American Refugee Committee, 2344 Nicollet Ave. S., Suite 350, Minneapolis, MN, 55404, (612) 872-7060.
AmeriCares, 161 Cherry Street, New Canaan, CT 06840, 1-800-486-HELP
Baptist World Aid, 6733 Curran Street, McClean, VA 22101, 703-790-8980,
CARE, 151 Ellis Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30303-2426, 1-800-521-2273,
Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090, 800-736-3467,
Christian Children's Fund, 2821 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23294-3725, 804-756-2700
Church World Service, 28606 Phillips Street, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515, 800-297-1516, ext. 222,
Direct Relief International, 27 S. La Patera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, 800-676-1638,
Doctors Without Borders/MSF, 6 East 39th Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016, 888-392-0392,
Doctors of the World, 375 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012, 888-817-4357,
Feed The Children, P.O. Box 36, Oklahoma City, OK 73101, 1-800-328-2122
Food for the Hungry International, 7729 East Greenway Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, 800-2-HUNGER,
International Aid, Inc., 17011 West Hickory, Spring Lake, MI 49456, 800-968-7490,
International Medical Corps, 11500 West Olympic Blvd., Suite 506, Los Angeles, CA 90064, 800-481-4462,
International Orthodox Christian Charities, P.O. Box 630225, Baltimore, MD 21263, 410-243-9820,
International Rescue Committee, 122 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10168, 877-Refugee,
Lutheran World Relief, Church Street Station, P.O. Box 6186, New York, NY 10277-1738, 800-597-5972
MAP International, 2200 Glynco Parkway, P.O. Box 215000, Brunswick, GA 31521-5000, 800-225-8550,
Mercy Corps International, 3030 SW First Avenue, Portland, OR 97201, 800-852-2100,
Oxfam America, Kosovo Relief Fund, 26 West Street, Boston, MA 02111, 800-77OXFAM
Save the Children Federation, P.O. Box 975, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, CT 06880, 800-243-5075,
Salvation Army World Service Office, P.O. Box 269, Alexandria, VA 22313, 703-684-5528
U.S. Committee for UNICEF, 333 East 38th St., New York, NY 10016, 800-FOR-KIDS,
U.S. Friends of U.N. World Food Program, 1000 16th Street, Suite 415, NW, Washington D.C., 202-659-4050
World Concern, 19303 Fremont Ave., North, Seattle, WA 98133, 800-755-5022,
World Relief, Dept. 3, P.O. Box WRC, Wheaton, IL 60189, 800-535-5433,
World Vision, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063, 888-511-6565,


April Edition of NARPAC, Inc. Web Site Looks to Anacostia's Future
Len Sullivan,

The National Association to Restore Pride in America's Capital has revised its web site for April (See “What's New?” at ) with new headline summaries, and new correspondence, this time to Police Chief Ramsey, suggesting opening a Regional Police Academy, instead of re-opening DC's old one. New NARPAC analyses include: a) looking at the mayor's new budget — whose content isn't very original, but whose format holds extraordinary promise; b) summaries of recent reports critical of the DC Council, and stimulating our recommendation that the Council and its staff need to be increased in size, as well as reorganized; and c) a look at the encouraging new union contract with DCHA workers. NARPAC's latest editorial view, entitled “Developing the Mayor's Strategic Focus,” poses twelve major questions whose answers will largely define the goals and directions of the mayor's sorely needed long range plans for DC.

NARPAC's major new analysis, at http// , compares the depressed conditions East of the Anacostia River with the economic miracles that have occurred in the very similar geographic area West of the Potomac. Arlington County's forward-looking land use planning, and strategic focus on the economic power of the new Metrorail system, need to be adopted throughout “Anacostia County.” Several major, creative, long-range plans are hypothesized that could bring tens of thousands of upscale homes, well over 100,000 upscale jobs, and millions of tourists to the area within 20 years. These include: an international mall for foreign pavilions; a giant medical center; sports and academics parks; an interactive military museum; and re-zoned, high-density radial business/residential corridors. Take a Look. Think Big. Make DC well.



Free Concert
E. James Lieberman,

Washington's oldest music organization, the Friday Morning Music Club, presents its orchestra, conducted by Sylvia Alimena in a free concert Sunday evening, April 18, 8:00 pm, Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda (west of Hillmead Rd., below Greentree). Program: Humperdinck, Hansel & Gretel Overture; R. Strauss, Wind Serenade, Op. 7; Wagner, Gotterdammerung excerpts. Free admission and parking.


Kennedy Playground Clean-Up
Peter Easley, Friends of Kennedy Playground,

Please join us on April 24, from 9 am until 1 pm, at Kennedy Playground — corner of 7th & P Streets, NW — for our fourth annual Clean-Up Event. We will be planting flowers and having fun together. If you need more information, please call Tim Downey at (202) 487-0506. See you Saturday, the 24th!


Macular Degeneration Day
Lois Kirkpatrick,

It can begin as early as age 40. Age related macular degeneration is one of the major causes of vision loss in America. Find out about it at a free program on May 19 from 1-3 p.m. in the Board Auditorium of the Fairfax County Government Center. Cosponsored by the Prevention of Blindness Society of the Metropolitan Area, the Fairfax County Public Library, the Area Agency on Aging, the VA Dept. for the Visually Handicapped, and the Fairfax County Disabilities Board. Call to register: (703) 324-8379; TTY: (703) 324-8365.



Apartment Sublet for NATO, Other — 4/23-5/6 (or approx.)
Lynne Mersfelder,

Please forward as appropriate. Looking for sublet between April 23 and May 6 (or approx.). My charming one bedroom DC condo is in the Adams Morgan area, walking distance from the Woodley Park/Zoo metro stop and from all the action and restaurants in Adams Morgan. A less than 10 minute cab ride will have you downtown to the White House or large hotels.

If you know of any of the security/military/political reporters (or others) coming here for NATO's 50th anniversary (vacation, etc.) at the end of April who might want a sublet please pass this on. Suggestions on whom or where to send this would be greatly appreciated — National Press Club(?), e-mail lists, etc. Interested folks should contact me, Ms. Lynne Mersfelder, at or work 301/713-3078 x172 or 202/328-4703 home.


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