Dear Special Interests:
Yes, that's right, I'd nearly forgotten what stakeholders were
called before politicians decided to elevate them to the same level as citizens and
residents, and openly give them an equal say in governmental decisions. Special interests.
And Marilyn Groves called to remind me that citizens are also reduced in importance when
they are called consumers, customers, or clients of
government services. When politicians say that citizens are the customers of government,
who are they putting in the role of bosses? We're not the customers; we are the bosses. We
run the government, elect the public servants, and pay their bills. Government
of, by, and for the people, in that quaintly obsolete phrase.
I recognize that, as Kirsten Sherk titled her submission, I'm
Beginning to Sound Crotchety, but they're driving me to it.
The Not-So-Neighborly Summit
Ann Loikow, Cleveland Park, firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping in mind your comments on stakeholders, I just received
my invitation to the Mayor's Neighborhood Summit which included a list of the
Neighborhood Action Advisory Board members. They include Marie Johns,
President and CEO of Bell Atlantic; as well as other developers/business folks such as
Stephen Trachtenberg, President of GWU; Fannie Mae Foundation (Fannie Mae being the
biggest tax dodger in DC); Freddie Mac Foundation; Board of Trade; etc. Doesn't look much
like a neighborhood summit. Seems the stakeholders have taken over
again to the detriment of the residents and citizens of DC.
I first heard the term stakeholder during a former life as a
federal employee who had been volunteered for a management training course. I
had previously worked on Capitol Hill where, at the time, the same groups that are now
"stakeholders" were once known by more descriptive labels such as trade
associations, unions, government agencies, the public, etc., so I had a little trouble
assimilating. I have never been able to completely erase the first image that popped into
my head when I heard the term stakeholder: that of a guy on a deck behind a
house in the suburbs holding a steak on a long fork, getting ready to plop it onto his gas
Whose Neighborhood Action Initiative?
James McLeod, email@example.com
Like Mark W Servatius [Nov. 3, 1999], I wonder what's up with the mayor's
Neighborhood Action Initiative set for next week. Will citizens come and have their vision
for the city accurately reflected, or will their attendance (and perhaps filtered
massages) be used to support the mayor's own vision for the city? I've not been impressed
by how well the mayor or the council have listened to me or my ANC on any number of
issues. (Although I do like some of the newly appointed agency heads.) If this is a good
faith effort to start listening, fine, but the mayor's representative at last month's
Foggy Bottom Association meeting left me with the impression that citizens' visions will
somehow be woven with the mayor's vision. When I testify at a zoning or council hearing,
or speak up at my ANC, I know my message is being heard by all present. Just like for jury
duty, I think it is good to bring people from all neighbors in the city together. I just
wonder what control I would have over what would be made of my presence or my stated
vision of the city.
Since I read a lot of criticism (as well as occasional praise) in themail
for D.C. government departments, here's one for the compliments scorecard. Last week I got
hit by an ambulance. Thank heaven, no injuries (this wasn't an ambulance with lights
flashing and siren going, just someone starting out at the same light I did, apparently
not seeing me, and swerving into my lane and into my car). I was left grounded at an
intersection in downtown D.C. with a piece of ambulance running board impaling my car in
front of my left front wheel. The ambulance driver claimed he couldn't stay long because
he was transporting a patient but would radio the police. I don't know if he ever did, but
5 minutes later a police car stopped and listened to my story. They hadn't gotten any
radio call, they just saw me wave, did a double take at my car and pulled over. They
weren't from the right district, but they called a car that was, which stopped 5 minutes
later. They made some radio calls, figured out that I didn't deserve a ticket, wrote a
police report, and called AAA for me! A great service, considering I didn't have my cell
phone with me and as it turned out the only pay phone in sight was broken.
All officers involved couldn't have been more decent. Never mind the fact
that 1 1/2 hours later the tow truck from AAA still hadn't stopped to help (despite their
dispatcher telling me they had been called) and the fact that I got home by 9 p.m. (the
accident was at 6:25 pm) only because my husband showed up and whacked the offending piece
of ambulance out with a sledgehammer and thereby freed my
front wheels. Much to our amazement the car was driveable. So the score is D.C. police 2,
pay phone company (not sure which one) 0, and AAA ... still waiting.
[Is this a common experience with AAA? Our experience has been quick and
reliable responses in the Virginia suburbs, but within the city slow responses and
repeated assurances that the truck will be there in just another 20 minutes, just another
20 minutes, just another. . . . -- Gary Imhoff]
Following up on my October 20 Give the Man A Sign posting in
themail: for three months now there has been a steady water leak down the street in the
4700 block of MacArthur Boulevard. The water flows slowly but mostly it pools because the
gutter is clogged with leaves. It is beginning to smell like sewage, possibly because of
rotting leaves, mud or whatever. Four homes have reported the problem to WASA and nothing
has been done. Aside from the inconvenience of having to leap over three feet of puddle to
get to their cars, endure the stench, and worry about impeding the function of drains
because leaves are trapped in standing water, they are concerned that as the weather gets
colder and freezes car tires will become damaged as they come and go, from blocks of ice
in front of their homes.
We are publicizing this to help light a fire under someone at WASA with
the authority to assign a crew to fix this problem as soon as possible. Talking of fire,
will someone at WASA need to be fired to prevent another avoidable accident caused by ice?
Last year, a woman of faith died when a vehicle skidded on ice, mainly due to WASA's
inattention. Now we read of 180 tons of liquid chlorine without working alarms, until
recent media pressure got their attention.
Citizens Observation on Jury Duty
James McLeod, firstname.lastname@example.org
As someone who sometimes represents persons accused of crimes, I enjoyed
reading Jon Desenberg's November 7, Observations on DC Jury Duty. Jon might be
interested in a DC study on jurors (Civic Apathy or Governmental Deficiency? An
Examination of Low Juror Yield in the District of Columbia, Richard Seltzer,
Department of Political Science, Howard University, December 1997) which suggested that
young persons are underrepresented by qualified jurors. (I don't recall any significant
underrepresentation based on race being found.) For me, the study raised the legal
question "Do the perceptions and views of those 18-30 years of age make them a
'distinctive' group, such that a criminal defendant is denied his Sixth Amendment right to
a jury made of a fair cross section of the community?
After talking with a social psychologist about this issue, I found that
more recent data from DC's Office of Planning (if I remember correctly, 1990 data were
used in Seltzer's study) revealed virtually no underrepresentation of Generation X in
Superior Court qualified jurors (but there still seemed to be a noticeably lower number of
Generation Xers in US District Court for DC). As for Jon's concern about how much time it
took to fill those 14 seats, let's hope that at least if no person on that jury was of the
age or race of the defendant, perhaps the time was well spend attempting to produce an
impartial (if not perfectly representative) jury.
Also, for those apparently few following the impact of Misdemeanor
Streamlining legislation (in 1994, the City Council took away the statutory right to jury
for most misdemeanor offenses), there has been less than a one percent drop in the number
of persons reporting for jury duty in Superior Court in 1992 there were 60,104,
compared with 59,569 in 1997.
For a very, very different take on D.C. jury duty, read this: http://citypaper.com/1999-10-20/germ.html.
That's in the Baltimore City Paper, but the juror is Mt. Pleasant humor writer
Quality of Life for Cell Phone Users
Kathy Carroll, email@example.com
While I appreciate the points made by Mr. Luger, Rock Creek Park is
absolutely no place to have one's mind on two things. The road is meant to be driven
slowly, of course, but even at the posted 25 mph, some parts are treacherous. If you take
time out in the park to call Fed Ex while driving, you may find yourself driving into a
brick wall, a creek or even a Park Police Station. Be careful out there! Rock Creek is NOT
the place to be on the phone and driving!
Reply to Phoning and Driving by Peter Luger
Lee Perkins, firstname.lastname@example.org
So now my health and safety are to be sacrificed to some suburbanite's
overdemanding kids? Give me a break!
Cellular Technology in Rock Creek Park
Chris Richardson, email@example.com
At this point, it seems pretty inevitable that cell phone towers will be
erected in Rock Creek Park, America's largest urban park. What smells especially bad is
that BellAtlantic has a virtual lock on the contract. Why should any ONE company be
guaranteed at this early stage of the game? Shouldn't the technology issue be decided
first, then the technology provider next be put to open bid? That would seem to be the
democratic thing to do, or am I just a babe in the woods?
Daschle Amendment Still Lives
Ann Loikow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite the NCPC's action last week approving the Bell Atlantic cell
towers in Rock Creek Park, the Daschle Amendment still lives. It is in both bills passed
last week by the House and Senate (HR 3194). Besides mandating approval of Bell Atlantic's
application (and therefore mooting any possible legal challenge), the provision would put
a 120 day limit on Federal agency action on the location of a wireless communications
antenna on Federal property in DC or the surrounding area. This would severely limit any
environmental, historic preservation, or planning review that might be required, depending
upon the site requested. The conferees are Hutchison (R-TX), Domenici (R-NM), Stevens
(R-AK), Durbin (D-IL), and Bryd (D-WV) in the Senate and Young (R-FL), Lewis (R-CA) and
Obey (D-WI) in the House. Please call them ASAP (and get your friends from outside DC to
call them) and urge that this provision (section 174 of H.R. 3194) be removed, as well as
the other social riders in the bill.
In the November 7 issue of themail, while discussing the issue of cellular
phone towers in Rock Creek Park, Ann Loikow made mention of Fort DeRussey (near the
intersection of Oregon Avenue and Military Road), and the role it played in the Civil War.
For more information about this fort, and other local forts (Forts Slocum, Reno, Stevens,
Kearney, and Totten), go to http://www.nps.gov/rocr/ftcircle/defense.htm.
This site offers a good overview of the Park and the Civil War defenses of Washington,
including the battle of Fort Stevens, during which a Confederate force led by General
Jubal Early progressed southward on Seventh Street Pike (now Georgia Avenue) and
threatened the Capital. It was during this battle that President Lincoln is said to have
come under fire, whereupon the commanding Union officer advised him to "Get down, you
fool," or words to that effect (although this account has been disputed).
In response to Mr. Fasano's answers to my questions regarding 17th Street
businesses, I must continue to disagree with his arguments. I don't believe there are 20
bars and liquor serving establishments on 17th Street between P & R. Off the top of my
head, I count 12, which includes three liquor stores (although there may only be two) and
Cobalt, which has been closed for nearly 11 months. In addition, there is a CVS, Safeway,
7-11, a coffeehouse, a florist, Blockbuster, a mom and pop video store, hardware store and
Reincarnations. The contention that any of those businesses are threatened is absurd.
Angie's plant shop is going out of business because it is not making enough money. JRs
didn't force it out. JRs is taking advantage of an opening in the adjacent property to
expand an already thriving business that brings a lot of tax dollars into the District.
The owner of JRs, Eric Little, has been with JRs for a very long time, began there as a
bartender and became a manager, then bought the place. That is commendable and admirable.
Allowing JRs to expand and use their patio will not run Reincarnations and Ace Hardware
out of business. Have you been to the hardware store recently; you can't move in there. If
they were next to Angie's, they'd probably be fighting for it as well. And, as far as
Adam's Morgan goes, I lived there for 5 years.
You do not have to leave the neighborhood for basic staples. There's a Safeway, a
Blockbuster, a 7-11, So's Your Mom, Comet Deli, Fleet Feet, Adam's Morgan Hardware, and at
least three drycleaners.
In response to Mr. Levine, I would agree with your argument about quality
of life, but I don't think 17th Street is comparable to upper Georgetown. No clubs have
ever opened on 17th Street and I doubt they ever will. The audience for 17th St. likes the
bar/restaurant atmosphere. The clubbiest thing that ever happened was when people starting
dancing upstairs at Cobalt, even though there wasn't a dance floor (the horror!). And, on
the 17th Street strip between P & R, many of the employees do live in the
neighborhood. I'd be curious to get a specific response regarding the constantly closed
restaurant across from JRs (next to the old Pop Stop). That space is designed as a
restaurant. Anyone who moves in there is going to use it as a restaurant since it already
has all of the equipment, ventilation, etc. Obviously, a restaurant cannot survive in that
space without a liquor license. What do you suggest be done there?
Im Beginning to Sound Crotchety
Kirsten Sherk, email@example.com
[Mike Fasano wrote that there were 20 establishments serving alcohol on
the 17th Street Strip] I only get 11 on 17th Street itself, especially with Cobalt/Sol
closed where do the other 9 come from? Do you count the liquor store? The
restaurants/bars on P & R? That being said, while I wouldn't want to cut back on the
bars and restaurants already there, I've been sad to see three funky neighborhood STORES
go since I moved to 17th Street five years ago: 1. the upholstery shop on 17th and Church
was replaced by a cafe that didn't seem to ever figure out what it was, never thrived, and
died quietly; meanwhile, I have a lovely antique chair that I can now afford to recover
and no place to take it. 2. Angie's plant shop: how many places can you buy plants in the
city? I'd like to get a new jasmine, but my carless life doesn't take me near Johnson's.
3. Cat in the Bag, the holistic pet supply store: ok, so I never went there, but I sure
did like that it existed (actually, it just moved to 14th street).
Dear Bill, l know you're kind of busy right now, what with the Microsoft
antitrust lawsuit and all, but I wanted to let you know about a suggestion I have for the
Microsoft Windows operating system. It has to do with all those little error windows that
pop up all the time when something has gone wrong in Windows, which have a single little
button labeled ok in them, which must be clicked on by the user before being
able to proceed any further.
Well, it always gives me very negative feelings about the Windows
operating system to be forced to click on these little ok buttons, at just
those times when things are the least ok between me and my Windows system. I was thinking
that it might lead to improved user attitude, comfort, and acceptance of Windows if we
could think of some better labels for those little error windows buttons. Here are some
alternatives I have thought of, though perhaps you and your human engineering people could
think of some others as well: oh well, whatever, not
ok, really not the least bit ok, I understand. It's a PC, after
all, well, I guess I'll just have to live with that, that's PC's
for ya, that really sucks, we realize this really isn't ok with
you at all, but would you mind clicking on this silly little button anyhow?
So, what do you think? Another feature could be to randomly vary which one
of several labels are displayed or to provide multiple buttons with different labels to
chose from, thus adding some variety and entertainment to those trying error situations.
Yours in computing, Jay Vinton
CLASSIFIEDS EVENTS AND MEETINGS
Ward Three Democrats Meeting on Planning, November
Thorn Pozen, Chairman, Ward Three Democratic Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
As anyone who has driven on Wisconsin Avenue north of Georgetown or
Connecticut Avenue north of Rock Creek Park can see, there is a development boom in Upper
Northwest Washington. This boom is not, however, confined to those commercial strips, as
cranes and construction have hit the residential neighborhoods of Palisades, Cleveland
Park, Tenleytown, Chevy Chase, and Forrest Hills hard (not to mention projects in other
areas of the city). On top of these projects are the long list of other development
projects still on the drawing board, which have yet to even begin. I believe it is time to
start to look at these various projects together and as a whole, and not just how they
impact the particular neighborhood in which they are located. New and proposed buildings
change the traffic, congestion, and aesthetic dynamic not just on their own block, but all
along their street. If that proposed building happens to be on, or just off of, Wisconsin
Avenue, and it is to be joined by three or four other large new buildings, then that
impact could be felt from Calvert Street to Western Avenue.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against development, I just think it has to
properly planned and responsibly executed and situated. And an important part of that
planning has to include a look at the building's impact on the larger community and on
other proposed projects. It is time neighborhoods with planning and development issues
come together and build on each other's strengths. To help begin a dialog among
neighborhoods on this important issue, I will be leading a panel discussion at the next
Ward Three Democratic Committee meeting. The panel will be opened by Ward Three
Councilmember Kathy Patterson, and will include D.C. Planning Director Andrew Altman, D.C.
Council Finance and Revenue Committee Chairman Jack Evans, planning expert Dorn McGrath,
and Arnold & Porter zoning attorney (and former counsel to the Historic Preservation
Review Board) Peter Maszak. Also at the meeting, to help people see the big (or at least
bigger) picture, the Ward Three Dems will be unveiling a map of all known development
projects in the Ward.
The Ward Three Democratic Committee is the most grass-roots level of the
Democratic Party in Ward Three, and as such is one of the few Ward-wide forums in which to
discuss large-scale community issues. Ward Three stretches roughly north of Georgetown and
Rock Creek Park. The meeting will be held Tuesday, November 16th at 7:30 p.m. (although
the panel discussion will not likely start until about 8:30 p.m.) in the Fellowship Hall
of St. Luke's Church, which is on the northeast corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Calvert
Street, N.W. (The entrance to the the Fellowship Hall is downstairs off of the parking
lot, and the parking lot entrance is on Calvert Street, just east of Wisconsin Ave.). All
ANC3F Nov 15 Meeting: Speaker on CENSUS
David J. Bardin, BardinD@arentfox.com
Tentative Agenda for ANC 3F on Monday, November 15 at 7:45 pm. to be held
at 3150 Chesapeake Street, NW [Capital Memorial Seventh-Day Adventist Church]. Update on
Mayor's Neighborhood Summit (Nov. 18 & 20); Speaker: Commissioner Linda Softli,
GETTING A FULL COUNT FOR THE 2000 DECENNIAL CENSUS: Roles of ANC commissioners and citizen
groups; Exxon and Tiger Mart at Connecticut and Nebraska; Review of Street Marking Drawing
for Albemarle Street, Nebraska Avenue to Connecticut Avenue; Construction at 4512 28th
Street, BZA Appeal No. 16533; Proposed ANC Reform Legislation going to hearing on Nov. 22;
ANC 3F annual report for 1998/99; ANC Officers for 2000: Discussion or Election
CLASSIFIEDS HOUSING FOR PEOPLE AND CARS
Seeking NW DC Apartment
Ian Sheridan, email@example.com
A professional woman is seeking a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment to rent in NW
DC. Please call 966-0097.
Parking Spot for Rent?
Amy Hardison, Adams Morgan, firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm looking for a parking spot in Adams Morgan near the back entrance of
the zoo (Harvard and Adams Mill area). I'll be flexible with the location as long as it
isn't too far away. If you have one available, please contact me at 202-462-4406 or email@example.com.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
DC Strokes Rowing Club is holding a fundraising sidewalk sale this
Saturday, November 13, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at 1880 Columbia Road NW. Good assortment
of furniture, books, clothes, housewares, and odds and ends.
CLASSIFIEDS SERVICES WANTED
Seeking Company for Stationary Printing and
Jon Katz, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.markskatz.com
Please give me your recommendations for a first-rate business stationary
company, and a person to help us develop a corporate logo. My
office is located in downtown Silver Spring. Thanks to everyone who has unselfishly
responded to my past queries for public relations-related assistance.
Web Site Help
Ann Loikow, Cleveland Park, email@example.com
Frank Stovieck, who runs the Cleveland Park web site ( http://www.clevelandpark.com ) does web site
design. His company is Perspective Concepts ( http://www.perspectiveweb.com
) and is located at 3333 Connecticut Avenue, NW, 2d floor (202-237-9800) You can also
contact him by E-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm sure he can help you.
Aries Keck, email@example.com
Does anyone know if neighborhoods in Boston have listserves that are
similar to our wonderful DC one?
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, firstname.lastname@example.org
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
COLUMBIA SLIGHTS: Credit Columbia Heights activist Dorothy Brizill for her environmental
consciousness. When it came time to print up billboards protesting a decision over
development rights in her Columbia Heights neighborhood, Brizill used the back side of
campaign posters from her failed 1994 bid for the Ward 1 D.C. Council seat.
The recycled poster-board would have worked fine anywhere in town except for the environs
of 441 4th Street, the city government's headquarters and a hotbed of petty disses. Within
days of the postering, mischief makers turned several of Brizill's signs inside out
making it look like Brizill was back on the campaign trail, rather than organizing against
a controversial development edict. For a minute there, I thought Dorothy was already
prepping for the 2002 Ward 1 race, commented a council staffer. Then I took a
Read the entire Loose Lips column here: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/lips/lips.html
From washingtoncitypaper.com's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early
warnings for upcoming events:
FRIDAY: Behind the Lines: The Universal Product Code (U.P.C.) at 25, on view
from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, to March 2000, at the National Museum of American
History, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE.
WEDNESDAY: Kathleen Madigan at the Improv, 1140 Connecticut Ave. NW, through Sunday, Nov.
21, at 8:30 p.m. Wed-Thu & Sun; 8:00 & 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. $12-$15.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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