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October 3, 1999

State Song

Dear Choir:

We've had a few mentions of a DC state song in themail, and every time I've been bothered by it, because I have a vague memory that DC already has a state song, which was written by Jimmy Dodds. Yes, Mouseketeers, the head Mouseketeer himself wrote our state song. Of course, I've never heard this state song; it has never been played at any state occasion that I'm aware of; and I don't even know whether there's any recording of it or where to find the sheet music. (Anyone at the Washingtoniana Room have a clue?) If I'm right, and if the song is located, maybe we can stage a sing-along for New Year's Eve.

So far, only two people have responded to share their New Year's Eve plans — if you can top either, or even if you can't, let us know.

Gary Imhoff


Reno Road
Margaret Yoma Ullman,

The comment about a yellow line wobbling on Reno Road didn't go nearly far enough. Between Van Ness and Yuma, great potholes have opened up in the work that took place after resurfacing. Who did that work? Why aren't the holes being fixed? And it's not just the buses because the trouble extends beyond the bus route. Having streets in this area torn up repeatedly is not only inconvenient, it's also a huge waste of money. Surely someone could coordinate the various projects so that earlier work is not undone by later.


Paul K. Penniman,

Whom can I call about trash collection? Our block didn't get ours picked up all week, and the advertised phone number, 727-4600, had a Moebius-like voice mail. Couldn't leave a message, and no one was there to pick up.

[When the regular DPW numbers aren't responsive, try calling Vincent Spaulding, the Clean City Coordinator at DPW, at 939-8005, or fax him at 939-8191. Has anyone found anything else that works? — Gary Imhoff]


Dangerous to Ride Metro on Sunday
Constance Z. Maravell,

Last Sunday I had a severe allergic attack and fainted while I was going up the escalator at Friendship Heights. Fortunately I was with a friend who kept me from tumbling down the stairs when I collapsed. She was screaming for help, but no one showed. There weren't any other people in the station, or so it seems. I came to by the time we reached the top, but I couldn't get up. Luckily for us, a young man was entering the station, and he lifted me off the escalator. No Metro employee ever presented himself.

I called Metro on Monday. They told me that on Sundays they don't keep a back up person at the station, so when the sole employee is out to dinner there is no one in the station who could have turned off the escalator, called for assistance, or anything.


No One Promised a Regular Workday
Larry Seftor,

Ed Barron in his recent posting paints a thought provoking picture of shift work. It can clearly be physiologically and mentally difficult, and can be hard on families. It affects different people to different degrees, and such work is not for everyone. That is the key. No one should enter a career in police work expecting that the hours will follow a normal workday. This is a career where the hours required are set by the need to prevent crime, and not by the personal needs of the police themselves. Despite Ed's discussion and the needs of the individual police officers, the criminals set their own schedules. Whatever the crime rate today, it can be lower if the Chief is allowed to do his job and place officers on shifts when crimes occur. Ultimately each officer is an employee at will. At any time, like most of us, if their job becomes too hard they can quit and find a job better suited to their needs.

As a final note, this is once again a circumstance where in DC the needs of the employees seem to be more important that the constituency that they serve. This constituency, I might add, pays their salaries. I find it ironic that Ed Barron, who writes often about how the needs of children should not be subservient to the teacher's union, now champions police officers rather than the citizens who want a reduction in crime.


Good Move
Ed T. Barron,

Police Chief Ramsey made a very good move this week in letting each of the Police Districts determine how they will staff, and at what level, the new 6 pm to 2 am shifts. This makes very good sense and is the first real act of empowerment that I have seen by Chief Ramsey. The morale of the working troops is most important to the efficiency and effectiveness of this force. By dictating a policy that would clearly be very disruptive, the effect would have been a serious morale problem with a corresponding impact on the performance of the work force in the Police Department.

My only concern is that the Police Union will now step in and create a big problem by trying to dictating their own policy on the “Power” shift instead of letting the precinct Captains and their assigned personnel determine how best to implement a “Power Shift.”


Abandoning Waterside Mall
Naomi Monk,

If my information is correct, GSA is still leasing the West tower (which overlooks the beautiful Potomac) of the Waterside Mall/Waterfront Metro Station to EPA until 2002 or thereafter. EPA once had 4,500 employees there; I understand that there are only a few hundred employees working in this tower presently. All other EPA employees are now working elsewhere. This is like a base closing for the residents of Southwest that live close by. Thus, the Waterside Mall is in a sad state. Businesses do not have enough customers to maintain viable businesses. There is a great need to replace EPA, which had 4,500 employees, with a Federal Agency with the same number or more employees and with a similar or better grade structure.

I am a resident owner who lives across the street from this Mall, and I find the delay in replacing or returning these employees incomprehensible. This is a beautiful section of DC. The vitality of the Waterside Mall/Waterfront Metro Station is crucial to the residents, tourists, Waterfront, Arena Stage, and the rest of DC. Burnishing the image of these areas is vital in making DC the “Model Capital” of the World. I have expressed these concerns to Congressman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony Williams, Councilman Jack Evans, Councilwoman Charlene Drew Jarvis, the Commissioner Director of General the Administrative Services, Robert Peck, and others.

Please, readers do you have any constructive support on replacing EPA with a comparable Federal Agency replacement or returning EPA? Also, it appears that GSA is allowing EPA to rent the West tower and other DC property [the Wilson Building] at the same time. If this is correct, are taxpayers paying EPA to occupy two buildings at the same time, when only one is need? Does anyone know the answer to this question?


DC Song, DC Tab, and Philly Schools
Mark Richards, Dupont East,

New Years for me is an escape into the Portuguese speaking Americas for a few weeks. I've been watching that clock tick down in Paris for the past decade, and always said I'd be there, but, change of plans ... going with Brazilian friends to the hot climate of the city of Salvador, in Bahia, Brazil ... nice beaches, soft music, a musical language, and beautifully warm people. Can't wait to see a macumba, where I guess everyone puts flowers in the ocean. And costumes and dance, dance, dance. I'm sorry to miss Will Smith in DC, but I'm going to send him a note anyway and encourage him to write a song for DC like he did for Miami, and just as upbeat and funky. It'll be on the radio when I get back, and all the Y2K articles will be over. To encourage the Prince to do a cool song for DC (on top of something for the nation's capital, of course) write him at: (1) 330 Bob Hope Dr., Burbank, CA 91523 and (2) C/O Caa 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Brava to EHN for pointing out to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that DC isn't going to continue picking up the $400,000 annual tab to operate the federal government's Wilson drawbridge (and kudos to R. Hansen of That's Politics in The Times for reporting it). Someone would do a great favor by listing all items like this. I see them one by one, but not together, where I might get a feel for the scope. This change adds up.

The School District of Philadelphia has a nice home page, and they provide maps with links to real people —


Celebrating the What?
Joan Eisenstodt

As the T-shirt at American University Hillel said, “Y2K: Been there, done that!” It's 5760 for some of us ... so 2000 won't be a big deal 'cept to deal with the noise in our neighborhoods. New Year's eve, never a "holiday" high on my list, will be spent at home, waiting for the hoopla to end, already!


E. James Lieberman,

There's a new green plastic box at Northampton and Connecticut, NW, recently installed to distribute papers to help job-seekers. Apparently there are dozens of these around. I think it's an eyesore, and wonder if a license is required to install such a box and, if, so, what agency in DC decides on the merit of such installations and how much the publisher/distributor pays. Does anyone know or care?


DC Cablevision
Margaret Siegel,

Thanks to Bill Rice and to Pat Carroll at DC Cable — thanks to Bill for alerting us to Mr. Carroll's existence and willingness to be helpful, and to Mr. Carroll for being diligent in scheduling cable repair people and following up to ensure the work was done — after many years of three Jim Vances on my TV, he now appears once, the picture is clear, as is the sound, and so are his colleagues on channels 5, 7, and 9 — miraculous! Is this because there's now competition for cable service here in DC?


Sara Cormeny,

Our condo had starpower installed a couple of weeks ago, and I have signed up for the whole shooting match — cable tv, cable modem, telephone service. Because of some technical troubles that have never been fully explained to me, the telephone service is not expected to get started until close to the end of the year. Not a big deal; we still have Bell Atlantic, and the phone numbers will stay the same. In general, with as you can tell very little experience with Starpower, I've been pretty pleased. All of the salespeople and installers were quite nice to deal with. I was disappointed that installation of the fat white cables is on the outside of the walls only, and even the junctions simply lie on the floor — I think that's lazy, though the installation was free so I am willing to invest a bit of cash to get at least the junctions inside some sort of wall-mounted boxes.

The tv cable has been fine; we have it on just one television. The cable modem has been GREAT; installation was a snap, and the guy who installed it was really knowledgeable. Installation was delayed a day by the big storms, and the phone service to schedule the installation was kind of unprofessional. But to me that's a quibble — PEPCO is lousy in that department all over, so I wasn't expecting miracles from their subsidiary company. Best of luck, Janet [Hess, who wrote inquiring about Starpower]! I think the people in our building (the Richmond) have been happy overall, and that there was overwhelming sign-up for basic cable television. I don't think that many people signed up for the modem or the phone service, but I haven't checked, either.


UN Hunger Site
Edna Small,

Received this from relatives at the OECD. It's for real. Thought some readers might like to respond. Visit this site and pass the word:

All you do is click a button and somewhere in the world some hungry person gets a meal to eat at no cost to you. The food is paid for by corporate sponsors. All you do is go to the site and click. (You're only allowed one click per day.)



Publicity Photographer Sought
Jon Katz,

Please give me your recommendations for a good person or company to take publicity photographs of my Silver Spring law firm's staff (individually and as a group). I also seek a person or company to help prepare, shoot, and edit some informational videos for us. Thanks for any information you can provide.


Massage Recommendation
Mary Vogel,

With the busy season of Fall upon us, folks may want to take a moment out from the hectic pace to have a massage. I would like to recommend Patrick McClintock of Capitol Hill, 202-546-0226 or mcclinto@umbc.edm. He does a nice combination of Swedish, deep tissue and polarity therapy to the sound of Tibetan bells. You leave walking on a cloud and feel more centered for days afterwards. Patrick, a Capitol Hill resident, is especially supportive of the activist community and a participant in DC issues. He is reasonably priced with a sliding scale. He does home visits as well.



Altman Talk
Mary Vogel,

DC's new Planning Director, Andy Altman, will be speaking at the National Building Museum (Judiciary Square Metro — red line) on Oct. 5, 12:30-2 pm. His topic is “How DC's extensive economic development plans address the tenets of Smart Growth and livability.” There's usually plenty of time for questions at the end of a talk. It's a free event and folks are welcome to bring their lunch.


DC Cable TV Advisory Committee
Jeffrey Hops, Interim Chair, DC Cable Television Advisory Committee,

This is a reminder that there will be a meeting of the DC Cable TV Advisory Committee Monday, October 4, at 6 pm, at the DC Office of Cable Television and Communications, 2217 14th Street, N.W., 3rd Floor Conference room. The meeting is open to the public, although any discussions regarding the District's negotiating strategy will be held in closed session. The major topic for discussion is the sale of District Cablevision, Inc. to AT&T. Please feel free to call me at (202) 588-9258 if you have any questions. See you Monday!


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