Merry Christmas in themail, December 22, 1999
We sure do like those DC movies. Be sure to watch a movie or TV show set
in Washington over the holiday, and let us know what you see.
In the spirit of the season, I shall not tell you what I think of the
rationale that Dr. Abdusalam Omer, the mayor's chief of staff, gave for Tony Williams's
appointment of Reverend Willie Wilson to the board of trustees of the University of the
District of Columbia. We think, Dr. Omer said, he's a leader who offers
a unique perspective to the community, and he will bring that perspective to the
university the perspective of how to build a community, how to care for the poor
and motivate those left behind. Does UDC really lack and need the perspective of a
loud-mouthed racist demagogue? Are Mayor Williams and Dr. Omer announcing that they
respect and endorse that perspective? Is Dr. Omer signaling that the Mayor's repeated
failures over the past year to confront and address racial demagoguery from the
attacks on David Howard last January, to Reverend H. Beecher Hicks's tirade over the
Garrison School playground, to Robert Moore's and Lawrence Guyot's manipulations of the
corrupt Columbia Heights land deal stem not from timidity and fear and lack of
leadership, but from sharing those sentiments?
When the Public Trust is Violated
Nick Keenan, Shaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Police Department now has a service where you can get crime reports
for your district every day via E-mail. While it is always upsetting to read about crime
in my community, the other day I received a report that was particularly disturbing:
Victim reports that he was involved in a car accident & when transported his
small travel bag was stolen and later found in the back of the ambulance #19. Credit card
was later charged by unknown suspect(s). Property: Money/Master Card/Master Card
Card/. The implication is clear an accident victim was robbed by an ambulance
attendant. This is a shocking violation of public trust.
This is eerily reminiscent of something that happened to my wife a few
years ago. While she was on jury duty her credit card was stolen out of a locked jury room
by a court employee. The police wouldn't even take a report, saying there was no
evidence a crime had been committed. The employee was later arrested in Virginia
using the credit card. The treatment of a case like this is a good indicator as to whether
anything has actually changed within the MPD. Will this violation of public trust be
aggressively pursued, or will the MPD decide that it was a mistake to take a report in the
first place and a bigger mistake to make that report public?
Street Cleaning and Parking Tickets
Malcolm L. Wiseman, Jr., email@example.com
Mr. Mayor, I'm sick and tired of the the way we are being treated over
here on Crittenden St., NW. Here in the 1200 block we have signs for alternate side
parking to accommodate street cleaning. This service has been spotty from its
inception. For the last 5 or 6 weeks no sweeping has been going on over here at all. So we
get tired of the shuffle of cars back and forth when we know that no sweeping crew is
going to show up.
Today they did come by and right behind them was the ticket writer. When
we complain, they say they are not a part of the cleaning operation, they're just
doing their jobs. Well, I wish everybody would. Then we'd all get into the swing and
stop wasting time and money! We should be writing tickets to DPW when they don't show up
to sweep the street or at least we should submit the tickets to DPW. What say you, Sir?
It is time for the Mayor to show some true leadership and get the
teachers' pay roll system solved. As a parent and PTA Board Member at Hyde Elementary, it
is frustrating to hear of the ongoing problems the teachers are having. It is insulting to
see the Mayor put such energy into bonus money for union workers and at the same time show
almost no public concern about the inexcusable situation of the teachers' pay roll. It is
time for the Mayor to show some serious leadership on behalf of our teachers, the students
In George Washingtons Honor (1732-December
Mark David Richards, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Federal City was Washington's birth child, and most of his final days
were spent not in retirement, but navigating between crazed interests in the beautiful
forested area between the Potomac and Anacostia which he envisioned as the seat of Empire
for the nation he had led in Revolution a place for the nation to grow strong and
united. In March 1791, at the home of Georgetown Mayor Uriah Forrest (3350 M St. NW
go look), Washington pitched his idea of building the federal city between Georgetown and
Carrollsburg to 17 major land-owners. Soon after, they agreed to support his effort
Washington was loved and trusted, a hero. Washington City 3,000 residents, George
Town 5,000, Alexandria City 5,000, would become part of a federal district.
On Dec. 20, 1798, as Christmas drew near, Washington was focused on DC. He wrote William
Thorton, enclosing $500 to lay the materials for his buildings, saying: I saw a
building in Philadelphia of about the same dimension in front and elevation that are to be
given to my two houses, which pleased me. It consisted also of two houses,
united Doors in the center, a Pediment in the Roof and dormer windows on each side of it
in front, skylight in the rear. If this is not incongruous with rules of
Architecture, I should be glad to have my two houses executed in this style. On
Christmas day, Washington wrote Geo. W. Lafayette: I recollect no material change
that has taken place in men, or things, since you left America. Alexandria continues to
thrive, and the Public buildings in the federal City go on well. Ever the optimist.
Contrast that to Oliver Wolcott: The people are poor, as far as I can judge, they
live like fishes, by eating each other.
Just before the Federal City was ready to receive the
Grand Council of the Nation (106 Reps, 32 Senators) and its 131 federal
employees, George Washington, model citizen-soldier, died at Mount Vernon
(Dec. 14, 1799). Over two decades, Washington and colleagues had radically altered the
history and fortunes of their heirs by declaring their freedom, establishing a federal
structure to unite feuding and disparate states under a Constitution designed to keep a
free people free (and feuding in a civil manner, one might add). In November 1800,
President Adams addressed Congress (State of the Union): In this city may ...
self-government which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in
veneration.... It is with you, gentlemen, to consider whether the local powers over the
District of Columbia vested by the Constitution in the Congress of the United States,
shall be immediately exercised.
In December, Congress assumed exclusive legislative authority. Residents
of Washington City were stunned Congress made no provision for a local government
or national voting rights! They urged prompt adoption of an Amendment giving the right to
vote for President, elect Senators and Representatives, and suggested creating a Territory
of Columbia with an elected legislature. Epaminondas, (i.e., Agustus Woodward)
wrote in the National Intelligencer, No policy can be worse than to mingle
great and small concerns. The latter become absorbed in the former; are neglected and
forgotten. . . . It will impair the dignity of the national legislature, executive, and
judicial authorities to be occupied with all the local concerns of the Territory of
Columbia. He derided Congress for failing to specify what part of District expenses
would be borne by the federal government, which part by local taxpayers. He told Congress:
"We are legislating for posterity as well as for ourselves . . . the interest of
millions unborn is confided in our hands. Jump ahead 161 years the U.S. is a
mighty Superpower, engaged in a Cold War 1961, Congress grants DC citizens the
right to vote for President (electoral votes equal to smallest state no greater)
because Khrushchev filmed DC alley houses and announced to the world that US ideals were
more imaginary than true); in 1968 after assassinations and riots, Congress grants
DC the right to elect a School Board; in 1970 the right to elect a non-voting Delegate to
the House of Representatives; 1973 the right to have a limited Home Rule government
without budgetary control. Dec. 1999 DC citizens are still segregated from the US,
excluded from apportionment (a claim of made in Adams v. Clinton lawsuit). The single most
important indicator of democracy the right to vote in ones national legislature
died with George Washington. 'Tis the season to celebrate DC's accomplishments over
the past few decades, and renew our determination to achieve our birthright. George
Washington did not lead a Revolution against exclusive legislative control by the English
Parliament to replicate the problem in the city of his honor.
Old Washington Preserved on Film
Richard Steacy, email@example.com
Movies that have preserved bits of what this city was like years
ago are Broadcast News for saving Whitlow's Restaurant;
Watch on the Rhine for briefly seeing the Washington Monument when cars could
park on the circle around it; and Born Yesterday (1950) for having William
Holden as a tour guide as he shows Judy Holliday around. Advice and Consent is
probably the best overall view of Cold War D.C. I'm nostalgic about Jimmy Stewart's first
view of the Capitol as he exits the pre-shopping mall Union Station in Mr. Smith
Goes to Washington that was my first view of it too. And finally, The
Thief starring Ray Milland, another Cold War gem that challenges Advice and
Consent for its preservation of 1950s Washington (and New York as well).
Washington Movie Moments
Karen Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org
My favorite Washington movie moments have taken place in recent films for
which Hollywood movie makers apparently didn't bother to do any research in Washington.
For example, in The American President, Michael Douglas finds it so charming
and unique that Annette Bening is from Virginia that he gives her a Virginia ham to win
her heart. Poor guy, no one bothered to tell him that probably 50% of his staff lives in
Virginia. Or, in Broadcast News, every time Holly Hunter jumps into a cab, she
starts giving the cab driver elaborate directions for her preferred route, except that she
clearly has no idea of DC geography and gives directions that are physically impossible.
(Was that supposed to be an in-joke, or did the filmmakers think that so few
Washingtonians go to the movies that it wasn't worth it to try to get our streets right?)
I also loved that old Cary Grant-Sophia Loren film in which his children's bedroom had a
view of the Capitol, and there was a great outdoor party taking place on the banks of the
Potomac, at what seemed to be the current site of the Watergate.
Old Movies, Old Washington
Lea Adams, email@example.com
themail's movie faves bring back a wellspring of good memories. Just the
mention of the Town Theater (omigosh! REAL butter on FRESH hot popcorn) makes my mouth
water for the Biograph, RKO Keith's, the Tivoli (I saw Roman Polanski's
Repulsion there and had nightmares for two weeks!), the original Circle
(remember when PT Barnum's moved next door, the place with sawdust on the floor, peanuts
on the tables, and a model train running on an overhead track that looped all over the
restaurant?), and all the other great houses that have gone the way of small-business
America and small-town DC. I just drove past the SW waterfront, by the way, only to
discover that the Flagship restaurant has been replaced by the Odyssey. So much for
sitting in the Crow's Nest with other genuine Washingtonians. Is it really all going,
going, gone? Do we HAVE to get rid of every sign of a slower, more familiar, human sized
DC in order to meet the millennium head on? By the way, I'll cast my vote for Spike Lee's
Get On the Bus. Even though much of it was shot in Virginia, the story line
was set in DC during the Million Man March. And a whole lot of DC people, including
myself, got a few days work on a major motion picture, and actually got to see our names
in the credits!
Being Here and There
Greg Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Sellers as Chauncy Gardner (Chance the
Gardener) walking along the median strip of either North Capitol or South Capitol
Street (the former I think) with the US Capitol dome in the background in one of the
opening scenes in Being There. (Some of the later scenes, which I assume were
supposed to have been around DC somewhere, were filmed at the Biltmore Estate in
If memory serves, the boarding house in The Day The Earth Stood
Still was at 1213 Harvard Street, NW. Last time I checked, many years ago, it was an
empty lot. This movie has some of the worst piecing together of DC landmarks in the rear
view of an impossible cab ride. My favorite scene in this 1951 movie, is the alien,
Carpenter, explaining to the puzzled doctors that his longevity (120+ years) and good
health is not a result of alien physiology, but of improved nutrition and reduction of
harmful environmental factors. The doctors sigh as Carpenter leaves, and both take long
drags on their cigarettes.
Someone mentioned The Day the Earth Stood Still as having
great scenes of an older Washington. Seven Days in May also has some great
scenes of the plotters and counter-plotters cruising DuPont Circle and other parts of
town, in early 60's Detroit big iron and glorious black and white. One poster also
mentioned Mars Attacks. I loved the part at the end, showing the post-attack
clean-up and the apartment building at 5th and Massachusetts, NW, with the front end torn
off. Anyone know how long that building was allowed to stand in that condition? I know it
was still there, still torn up, more than a year after the shoot ended.
Two other movies that I didn't see mentioned: 1) Houseboat,
with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, has a wonderful depiction of a Watergate concert,
complete with the orchestra on the barge and attendees in rowboats. Not sure if this was
the way traffic flowed then, but there's an aerial shot of Grant crossing Memorial Bridge
from Virginia and hanging a left in front of the Lincoln Memorial. 2) Strangers on a
Train, Hitchcock, has some really nice shots of Union Station and the oldest Diamond
Cab I've ever seen. Plus, it's a great film.
D.C. in The Movies
Pat Hahn (remove rangers for e-mail address), email@example.com
Is it too late for additional nominations? Some of us who spend much too
much time watching old movies remember the original (1950) version of Born
Yesterday, which included Judy Holliday and William Holden listening to a concert
played by an orchestra on a river barge floating across from the original Watergate, a/k/a
the stairs that go nowhere (except for into the Potomac) down near the Lincoln Memorial.
Those concerts were a regular thing in the prehistoric days before air conditioners became
standard issue. My dad, who passed away a few years ago, grew up in D.C. and used to talk
about going down to the river with his family to listen to those concerts.
Favorite Washington Movies
Stacey Kornegay, firstname.lastname@example.org
Two of my favorite movies that were filmed (or appeared to have been
filmed) in DC are True Lies and D.C. Cab.
For a time, I worked as a PA on big Hollywood movies and New York
commercials that would film in D.C. PA is production assistant, as in,
Hey, get me more cigarettes! Anyway, almost without exception, when the call
came in that a big film was in town the location was the Lincoln Memorial. It got so you'd
just ask what time, since you knew where you'd be going.
I spent a week at the Memorial working on Thunderheart, a
crappy Val Kilmer flick. None of it made the final cut. Also, one of my jobs was crowd
control, that is, making sure that the hundreds of tourists from across the country, and
around the globe, who had come to stand on their tax supported Memorial steps and stare at
one of the grandest views in the world across the Mall, the Washington Monument,
and Capitol would not do so. Amazingly, no one argued, being more interested in
staring at Val Kilmer and a bunch of cameras.
Not Quite Right
Agate Tilmanis, email@example.com
There are two movies I recall where things just don't seem right. One is
Seduction of Joe Tynan. The senator may be walking through the halls of the
Capitol in the film, but Alan Alda walked through the halls of the Library of Congress'
Jefferson Building while filming the scene. I don't recall the title of the other movie,
but the star is Katherine Hepburn. Perhaps one of 30's movies. She and her professor
father live in DC. The hero at the beginning of the movie offers Katherine a ride home.
She gives a low number on Connecticut Avenue, maybe 403. They arrive at a lovely cottage
with a garden and a beautiful verandah.
How about the way the city and its surroundings are depicted on TV? For
example, I'm still looking for the Memorial Bridge in Bethesda (X-Files) and the Navy JAG
HQ in Falls Church (JAG). I think that JAG is down at the Navy Yard.
Movies: I can't believe the nobody mentioned Slam, which came
out in the last year or so and is set in the real DC.
Food: Trader Joe's is great, but their stores are not only in
wealthy suburbs, as someone suggested, unless Bailey's Crossroads is the new
McLean. And for a good grocery store in the city, you'd be better off with Harris-Teeter,
a chain from NC expanding into the area. They carry a full range of regular products
(similar to Safeway or Giant). The big difference is that if their new Arlington
store is typical it's clean, it's big enough, it has enough cashiers that you don't
end up in an endless line, the staff is friendly and helpful, and the prices are very
good. Oh, and there's a wine shop, card shop, cafe, and pharmacy located right in the
store. I haven't been back to Safeway since they opened. They'd be a great addition to any
Trader Joes in DC
Sheila Willet, SAWILLET@aol.com
If and when it ever arrives, let's hope its location is near a Metro for
those of us who use public transportation.
Ah, the Georgetown Metro station. This is one of those Washington myths
that will apparently never die. If Jack Evans ever succeeds in getting a station built in
his neighborhood, the myth will probably just mutate into a different form. There is no
Georgetown Metro station because one was never planned. It doesn't appear on any of the
proposed route maps, the first of which dates to 1959. At that time, of course, Georgetown
was not a major retail area and had none of the office buildings that were subsequently
built south of M Street. In addition, a Georgetown station didn't fit into of the planned
lines. In fact, what is now the Foggy Bottom-GWU was originally planned for a location
even further from Georgetown than where it was ultimately located.
Although the 1959 plan included only 33 miles of the more than 100 in the
final system, the routes of today's inner Red and Blue/Orange lines are quite similar to
what was proposed then. Subsequent plans merely added the Yellow/Green Lines and pushed
further into the suburbs. The phantom Georgetown Metro station has long been an issue. In
fact, a paper on the subject was prepared for the Metro board in 1989. I have a copy of
it, if anyone really wants to read it.
Why No Metro Stop in Georgetown?
Stephen Kurzman, skurzman@CapAccess.org
Metro planning never contemplated a stop in Georgetown, I was told when I
was president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown from 1994 to 1996. I haven't
researched it myself, but I understand from those who were active on the issue at the time
that Metro planners wanted the easiest route on the blue/orange line from Foggy Bottom to
Rosslyn, which meant tunneling under the Potomac directly and not through Georgetown. I
was also told that there was one Georgetown historic preservation activist at the time who
was quoted as opposing a stop in Georgetown because blasting through the rock base under
Georgetown would damage the structures above. Apparently the Citizens Association and
other organizations never took a position on it because the planning didn't contemplate a
Georgetown stop. But the one quote has apparently fueled the myth, which has over the
years been further embellished with a racist motivation. Now I would guess Georgetowners
would welcome a Metro stop. Parking and traffic congestion have become major problems, as
they have in other DC neighborhoods. And all Georgetown organizations are supporting the
plan of our Business Improvement District, The Georgetown Partnership, to start a shuttle
bus system to the Foggy Bottom Metro stop.
I used to be an advisory neighborhood commissioner in Georgetown, so I've
heard the perennial urban legend about a Metro stop not coming to the area for less than
legitimate reasons (residents not wanting to give the masses easy access to
the area, etc.) But after EXTENSIVE discussion on the issue (and if you've ever been to a
Georgetown ANC meeting, you know what I mean), it appears that the main reason Georgetown
residents never said yes to Metro is because Metro apparently never popped the question,
so to speak. The prospect of digging through layers of solid rock may have been one reason
for Metro's reticence (Georgetown sits square on top of the second-highest hill in D.C.;
only the Capitol is higher.) 30-year residents say they would have been only too happy to
have a stop, but were never approached.
Not having been alive at the time, I can't speak personally as to the
accuracy of their statements, but suffice it to say, residents definitely want one now.
Who knows? Like all urban legends, the one about the aborted Georgetown Metro station may
contain a grain of truth, but there is apparently some sort of documentary evidence to
support long-time residents' claims, though I've never tried to get a look at it, myself.
Too busy walking all the way to Rosslyn.
As of December 22, 1999 all public photocopiers will be equipped with coin
boxes. The use of vend cards will be discontinued after that date. Coins (quarters,
nickels, dimes) and dollars and $5 will be accepted. Customers should take cards to the
Circulation Desk and fill out form PL242, Request for refund to be mailed to
patron. Value on vend card will be verified by Circulation staff. If less that $2.00
customer will be given cash. Amounts of $2.00 or more will be mailed to the customer
within 30 days. I apologize for the confusion but you are still very welcome to
come and use the Library!
On Friday, December 24, 1999, the D.C. Society of Young Professionals and
Event Concepts host two parties. One party is at Cities, 2424 18th St., N.W., in Adams
Morgan, and the other party is at Lewie's, 6845 Reed St., in Bethesda. Each party features
a deejay and dancing, as well as drink specials. The parties begin at 9 p.m. Pay one low
price of $12.00, and enjoy admission to both parties. Enjoy reduced admission of $10 if
you RSVP by 4 p.m. on December 24. To RSVP, for more information, or to be added to our
E-mail list to hear of future events, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
visit http://www.dcyoungpro.com, or call
202-686-6085. A portion of the proceeds to benefit Mitzvah Makers and House of Hope.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
The Friends of the Silver Spring Library's 3rd annual Vintage Silver
Spring 2000 calendar is now available at the Silver Spring Library, 8901 Colesville
Road (301.565.7689). Edited by FSSL board member and Silver Spring Historical Society
president Jerry A. McCoy, the calendar features 13 never-before-published photographs of
Silver Spring dating from 1915 to 1996. Each month features an Internet address linking to
additional information on the subject pictured. Historic Silver Spring dates are also
featured. The Calendars are available in limited supply at $7.00 each.
Hi Phil Greene! After an extensive search, I found the best: Horace L
Bradshaw! He was a DC Traffic Court judge, maybe chief, at one time. He knows his stuff
and knows the laws. It's not just a matter of having the right connections. He is well
respected and best of all not expensive. His office is upstairs next to the
Artifactory, 641 Indiana Avenue, NW, 20004-2906, tel: 202-737-8774. Please use my name
(pronounced boh-dee); I'm a major fan.
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
THE 1st ANNUAL LOOSIES: A scandal over undisclosed consulting contracts. A hubbub over
uprooting the city's public university from its Connecticut Avenue mooring. A lively
year-end debate over which funds to raid in providing bonuses for union workers. The great
political issues of 1999 in the District of Columbia provide a clear answer to the burning
question that kicked the year off: How much fun would D.C. politics be without the likes
of Harry Thomas, Hilda Mason, Frank Smith, and Suspect-for-Life Marion S. Barry Jr.?
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:
Tuesday, Dec. 28: Rosslyn Mountain Boys reunion, with Ruthie and the Wranglers, at 8:30
p.m. at the State Theater, 220 N. Washington St., Falls Church. $12.
Wednesday, Dec. 29: George Washington's Memorial Service Reenactment, 5 p.m. at the Old
Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML
and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/subscribe.htm.
To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with unsubscribe in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available
All postings should also be submitted to email@example.com, and should be about life,
government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings
must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short one
or two brief paragraphs would be ideal so that as many messages as possible can be
put into each mailing.