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April 30, 2000

This and That

Dear Correspondents:

Long issue, short intro. 1) Vote on Tuesday. 2) Did you catch the 60 Minutes piece on Tony Williams tonight? Waddya think? 3) Straight from her appearance in that 60 Minutes piece, see Jonetta Rose Barras's notice about her new book, below. 4) Lots of good classifieds below. 5) Gratified to hear from Tracy Hadden that her classified ad asking for leads on an internship was so productive so quickly. Pat yourselves on your collective back.

Gary Imhoff


The Heck With the Presidency, Vote for DC!
Michelle Treistman,

After all the consternation felt by residents of DC, myself included, about not having representation in Congress, I should hope everyone votes in the primary on Tuesday. Vote for your party's candidate, vote for Bradley or McCain, vote for yourself, or even vote for a name for the new pandas! If voter turnout is low next week, I think we'll be sending a clear message to Gore and Bush, and everyone else who might have the power to grant us Congressional representation, that we don't deserve it.


Election Litter
Kathy Chamberlain,

Contrary to Gary Imhoff's statement, the May 2nd election is no secret in my neighborhood, or any other DC neighborhood I've seen lately. On Pennsylvania Avenue, east of the Anacostia River, almost every utility pole has one or two posters. Same for Alabama Avenue. With the rainy weather many of them have come loose and slipped down, becoming litter, which in my opinion, they were all along. It would be a refreshing change to see these posters taken down immediately after the election by those who put them up instead of by de-litterers of the neighborhood. They not only detract from the appearance of a neighborhood, they encourage the placement of less desirable posters, a problem we're constantly fighting. It would be nice if at least the 3-posters-per-block regulation were followed. In the long run I hope DC citizens will get behind legislation banning all posters from public space, both advertisement and political. Let people put these messages on their own property, as is done in many other jurisdictions. In the meantime we're in for a long summer and fall leading up to the November election. Candidates should realize that an overabundance of posters can have the opposite effect on their campaign from what is intended. One more thing — I hope no candidates will resort to the stick-on variety of advertisement. We're still finding Capozzi's stick-ons from the last election.


Fighting for the Wrong Cause
Ed T. Barron,

All these years that many folks in D.C. have been making efforts to gain statehood and/or representation in Congress for D.C. have been wasted years. What many have been clamoring for is the exact opposite of what would really benefit the D.C. residents the most, no Federal taxation. It is timely to campaign actively for no taxation instead of representation. Now this is something that would benefit all the residents and would attract a huge influx of new residents. We could hold lotteries for those trying to buy entry into D.C. Forget the commuter tax. The fees that could be charged to be a new resident in the District would more than offset the loss of the payment to the District. A slight raise in the D.C. income tax is all that would be needed to bring the District's income in line with expenditures. Let's vote for no taxation.


Catania Says Vote for Robert Kabel, Republican National Committeeman
Mark Sibley,

Republicans voters, please consider the words of David Catania when choosing your candidate for Republican National Committeeman: “As you probably know by now, the DC Presidential Primary will be held on May 2nd. I urge you to come out and express your support of our Presidential nominee by voting for George W. Bush. Also on the Ballot will be the contest for our National Committeeman and National Committeewoman, our local voices on the Republican National Committee. There are three great candidates for National Committeeman, each of whom would serve with distinction.

“During my two campaigns for the D.C. Council I made it a point to emphasize that my candidacy was about working for The Common Good — for our city and its people. Throughout the years, I have brought that same philosophy to the Republican Party in D.C. That is why I am giving my personal endorsement to — and working vigorously for — the election of Bob Kabel as our next Republican National Committeeman on Tuesday, May 2nd. As Chairman of my successful re-election campaign in 1998, Bob put more than twenty years of experience and knowledge about National and D.C. politics to work on my behalf.

“In addition, Bob's far-reaching experience, from his work in the Senate, the Reagan White House, and his efforts on behalf of local Republican candidates, has prepared him to be an effective spokesperson for D.C. Republicans on the RNC. The Republican Party both here in our city, as well as throughout the nation, demands leaders who will actively work to broaden our base while building on our core principles. To me, the commitment, service and integrity Bob brought to my race reinforces the fact that he is the best candidate to represent the District of Columbia on the Republican National Committee. On May 2nd, please cast your vote for Bob Kabel.”


Vote for Linda Finkel-Talvadkar, Gore Delegate
Linda Finkel-Talvadkar,

Thank you for the opportunity to speak about my candidacy as a Gore delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Congressional District 2 (Wards 3, 4, 5, 7). I am running as a Gore Delegate so that I can make the District's voice resonate and be heard throughout the halls of the Convention and in the Party Platform regarding improvement of public education, gun safety, providing universal health care and prescription drug coverage, affordable housing and FULL voting representation and democracy in the District of Columbia.

I have been a long time political activist, serving on the DC Democratic State Committee where I became its first Press Secretary and am a member and former officer of the Ward Three Democratic Committee. Here I continue to focus my attention on building bridges with other wards throughout the city. Recently I had the pleasure of being involved in the Williams campaign and have participated at the grass roots level in many Democratic Presidential campaigns and the campaigns of many present and former councilmembers from across the city. I have a special interest in working with youth and have dedicated most of my professional career to mediation and conflict resolution training with youth and served on the Mayor's Task Force Against Violence in Public Schools. I ask for your vote so that I may represent you at the Convention. I promise to be a strong voice for you.


Running for Democratic State Committee
Pat Elwood,

Hello! My name is Patricia “Pat” Elwood, and I am running with the Action Democrats slate for one of the 6 at-large female seats on the Democratic State Committee. I am running with a group of people who are dedicated, as I am, to moving the party forward and making it a viable force in D.C. politics and a voice that can be heard in D.C., on the Hill, and around the country. As such, we would like to take action by speaking out as a body about the ISSUES that affect D.C., increasing voter registration (concentrating on our youth), increasing voter participation, improving outreach of the Party to the citizens, making politicians and the Committee itself more accountable, settling the financial problems of the Committee, then increasing the revenue and working vigorously for full voting representation.

These are a few of the Action items to which we are committed. We believe, however, that actions speak louder than words. I promise to work hard to make the State Committee an effective and strong voice on the political scene and a responsible body to help D.C. and would very much appreciate your vote. Again, I am Patricia "Pat" Elwood. I am number 5 on the ballot. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Split Up the District’s Electoral Votes and Increase Our Impact on Presidential Politics
Patrick Shaughness, Palisades,

When the primaries are held on Tuesday, the Presidential election campaign comes to end for District residents. Everywhere else it continues, because in each of the 50 states there will be at least some prospect that one party or another can win. But not in the District. That's because the District of Columbia is the only jurisdiction that has voted the same way (overwhelmingly for Democrats) in every Presidential election since we got the vote in 1964. So Democrats would be foolish to mount a real campaign here, and no one else has an incentive to even try. That's part of the reason why no Presidential candidate wants to go too far out of his way to address issues important to the District.

We can fix that by taking advantage of the electoral college system, which allows each state to determine how it apportions its electoral votes. Right now, two states (Maine and Nebraska) award electoral votes on a congressional district basis, then give two votes to the statewide winner. By putting at least one of our electoral votes in play, we could give any serious candidate an incentive to campaign here to get the extra vote or deny it to someone else. For instance, we could give two votes to the candidate winning the District, and the third vote to the second place candidate winning at least one third of the popular vote. One vote may not sound like much, but it can be crucial in electoral college calculations. In this year's race, it's believed Gore and Bush each have about 135 electoral votes locked up out of the 270 needed to win. So one vote would be roughly 1% of what is needed and winnable — enough reason at least to come here a few times and try to offer some reason vote for them. Congress would have to approve this format, but I think D.C. law would have to be changed first. If the Council started work today, it could be in place by this year's Presidential election. It's hard to imagine why anybody would be opposed to this.


Mid Term Exams
Ed T. Barron,

The Mayor intends to run for a second term in 2002 based on his new fund raising campaign. If so, then the report cards he and his close “Washington Team” members have issued can be graded at the end of December for the mayor's team's mid-term grades. After downloading and reviewing all the goals established by this group, it is clear that a very substantial amount is being attempted in a relatively short time. Things tend to happen quite slowly in the District and it is hard to believe that the scope of these goals can be fully achieved by the end of the year. We are not likely to see a 4.0 GPA by the time the grades come in January, but substantial progress towards successful completion of the goals could put the “Team” on the Honor Roll for their efforts.

If the “Team Members” have any hope of attaining their goals they must have a very detailed set of time linked steps for each goal. In addition they must have a “stuckee” for each of these steps whose neck is in the noose for making sure that step gets accomplished on time. And, lastly, there needs to be an accounting of any and all resources needed (and when they are needed) for each step and for that goal in total. For example: Vanessa Burns has the responsibility (and has signed up) to plant six thousand trees by the end of the year. It has been documented that she only has a budget to plant 2500 trees. The Mayor's job is to assure that each “Team Member” gets the resources they can justify to attain each of his/her goals.


Distant Memories of the Cairo Hotel
Mark Richards, Dupont East,

The Board at the Cairo Condominium received a post card recently from a gentleman in Berlin, Germany. He wrote “Dear Sirs, This card I found at the flat of my aunt, who spent in 1954 some month in your country. Did the hotel still exist in the same place?” The post card had been taken from the hotel to Germany by his aunt. It read “Cairo Hotel, Q at 16th Street N.W., Washington 9, D.C. Tel. HOBART 2104. 'Washington's Tallest Building, away from noise and bustle, yet conveniently located.' Moderate rates.” Thomas Franklin Schneider, architect of some 2,000 DC buildings, built the Cairo in 1894 near the edge of Washington City (Boundary Street — Florida Avenue). The 1893 Transportation Building at the Chicago World's Fair inspired him. Originally the hotel had a ballroom, bowling alley, billiard room, coffee shop, and rooftop garden. It received water from an underground spring. Visitors to the rooftop frequently dropped pebbles to the street below, causing horses to give carriage riders the scare of their lives. This led to the closing of food on the roof after just three years. The building set off the firestorm over building height, and led to the law that has kept most of D.C.'s skyline low. Neighbors demanded a “wind test” be conducted to prove it wouldn't fall, complained that it blocked their light, and were terrified of fire — no ladder could reach the top. The hotel was known for ballroom and mambo dancing on Saturdays. The room rates in 1953-54 were $4.00 per day for a single room with a private bath, $3.00 per day per person with 2 persons in a suite; breakfast was 45 cents, lunch 85 cents, and dinner $1.15. One resident reported that the last Queen of Hawaii lived in the Cairo while lobbying the U.S. to reclaim her throne.

By the 1960s, the hotel was a rundown brothel, with a telephone operator who listened in on calls for entertainment (the old plug-in switchboard). Some stories suggest she also provided “guest services.” Arthur Cotton Moore wrote that when his architectural firm was asked to look at saving the hotel in 1970, they were stunned by the poor condition — the interior was nearly demolished, packs of wild dogs roamed the interior, and the only occupant was an old woman who lived in the lobby. After structural review, they wondered why it hadn't fallen or burned down. For a long time, the D.C. government refused to approve the remodeling because the building exceeded the height limitation (which it had caused…). The economics of renovation were so marginal that the project was completed more out of civic duty. The building nearly collapsed three times during demolition, and the project slowed when the superintendent of construction was arrested and sent to jail. A survey of in 1997 showed most residents were American (84%), from 21 different states, D.C., and Puerto Rico; 16% reported being from 11 countries and Palestine, and 42% reported being fluent in at least one other language besides English; 58% speak English only. Altogether, residents reported speaking a total of 15 languages. 65% of owners reported living in D.C. ten years or more. Today, the Cairo is in a frontline neighborhood, “boys and girls town” for many gays and lesbians, and is in the middle of the noise and bustle.


The Context of Juvenile Crime and the National Zoo Shooting
Jason Ziedenberg,

While there's an understandable inclination to lament the rise in juvenile crime following the recent shooting at the National Zoo, most DC residents would be surprised to learn that violent juvenile crime has declined sharply here over the past decade. Homicides by youth have been falling and falling sharply in DC, as they have been throughout the country.

Despite a recent poll showing that two thirds of Americans believe that juvenile crime is on the increase, there has been a 56% decline in juvenile homicides since 1993. According to data from the Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI, juvenile homicide arrests in DC have dropped by 2/3 since 1990, from 69 in 1990, down to 23 in 1998. Between 1993 and 1998, juvenile arrests for aggravated assault declined by 45% and youth arrests for armed robbery and attempted armed robbery fell by 48%. In all, violent youth crime arrests dropped by 38% since 1993, and there have been similar declines in arrests for non-violent youth offenses. The tragedy at the zoo notwithstanding, youth violence is not the epidemic it was even six years ago, when DC earned the dubious title of America's “murder capitol.”

[This is excerpted from a short paper by Ziedenberg for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, posted at — Gary Imhoff]


Intern Home!
Tracy Hadden,

I was overwhelmed by the number of responses I got to my little classified ad. I'd like to thank each and every person who responded, and I hope I can keep all of you in mind for the several summers I have before I graduate. Local DC is alive and well, it seems, and bursting with wonderful opportunities and energy.


Nancy Henderson,

In response to Ed Barron's comment about the need for better DC school principals . . . first we need a better central administration so that enough well qualified principals would be willing to take the job.


Utility Cuts Thoughts
Marchant Wentworth,

D. Pelletiere's reaction to last Sunday's news that the Mayor's aides had quashed the utility cut fees was reasoned. But I fear what we really are seeing is the shadow of some very effective lobbying by the utilities, probably Pepco, that have long played a potent, but often below the radar role in politics in this berg. Carol Leonnig's piece, complete with paper trail, is revealing. Unfortunately, it raises the age-old question: who really runs this town? There were glimmers of hope that the ol' Board of Trade crowd had become quiet, now that the economy is shoveling the cash their way. Amazingly enough, the Council, with its new found appetite for oversight, especially rom Schwartz and Catania, offers us glimmers of something, as we watch Tony helplessly make one misstep after another.


W.H. Harrison’s Medical Training
David Sobelsohn,

In the most recent issue of themail, Mark Richards tells us that President William Henry Harrison was a doctor. Actually, Harrison dropped out of medical school, and his career consisted of military service and political offices (including diplomat and clerk of court). It took Harrison exactly one month (March 4-April 4) to die from the pneumonia he contracted during his delivery of what is still (even after two by the current incumbent) the longest inaugural address in U.S. history.


The Other Monopoly Continued
Gabe Goldberg,

Phil Shapiro said: “Newspapers are particularly vulnerable to losing subscribers, and will change only when subscribers start walking away. Did someone there forget that they exist to serve our needs?”

Did you send that to E.R. Shipp, the Post's Ombudsman? She was on WAMU this week, expressed frustration that people often complain about the Post everywhere but to her. It's her job to represent readers to the Post organization. She's E.R. Shipp, Her E-mail address appears at the end of every column, printed most Sundays. It was an interesting broadcast on the Public Interest show; you can listen to it from WAMU Web site via RealAudio.


Jury Trial for the Post
James McLeod,

I have shared Phil Shapiro's frustration with the Post (themail, April 26, 2000, “The Other Monopoly”), but recently there appeared some evidence that they might actually open their minds if you give them six years. While it wasn't in the form of an op-ed essay, the Post published an excellent letter from Christopher Warnock on the aggregation problem created by the Supreme Court's interpretation of the constitutional right to a jury (“When It's Just a Judge,” Friday, April 7, p. A30 —

Since 1996, I have submitted letters to the editor and essays to the Post in an effort to inform their readers of a serious problem with our criminal justice system in D.C. While they have rejected my essays, other editors found them worthy of publication: the Legal Times (“Losing Our Jury Rights: D.C. Should Restore Trial by Peers For Most Misdemeanor Offenses,” April 10, 2000, p. 76, plus 4/17/00 correction incorporated in ) and The Washington Lawyer (“Jury Trials for Those Accused of Misdemeanor Offenses in the District of Columbia,” May/June 1999, p. 46-49, longer version of article available at

It is not their editorial pages I am as concerned about (where the last piece I found on the subject was a letter to the editor, “Don't Abrogate the Right to a Jury Trial,” Apr. 28 1994, A26, from six years ago), as the news pages of this newspaper of record for our city. The Post's only report on us losing our right to a jury trial for most misdemeanors I have found was entitled “D.C. Crime Package Swipes at Gunrunners,” and appeared Mar. 30, 1994, p. D1. It did not clearly explain what rights we were losing. So for you Post readers who don't know, on March 7, 2000, Councilmembers Phil Mendelson, Allen, and Chavous introduced Bill 13-634, the Misdemeanor Jury Trial Act of 2000. The bill provides a statutory right to a jury when the total maximum penalty a person faces is more than 180 days. It's a step in the right direction and, whether you cancel your subscription to the Post or not, call or write Councilmember Brazil to request a hearing on this bill so the public can find out what this issue is about.


Sex Ed: Abstinence Only?
E. James Lieberman,

The research so far does not find abstinence only as effective as programs that counsel abstinence but also recognize that not all young people will conform to that standard and allow teaching about birth control and avoidance of disease among those who are or may become sexually active. Conservatives seem to regard loss of virginity as departure for a destination from which there is no return. If fact, many teens cease sexual activity after initial experience — thus abstinence can be a real choice for nonvirgins, too. Withholding information about safe sex sends a message that adults want pregnancy, childbearing and disease to be major deterrents/punishments for immature behavior. Is that a defensible policy?



Plight of Fatherless Women Probed
Jonetta Rose Barras,

In her book Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss (Addison-Wesley, 1994), Hope Edelman writes, “the loss of a mother is one of the most profound events that will occur in a woman's life, and like a sound in an empty house, it echoes on and on.” But what about the loss of a father? Is it not as significant or profound as the loss of a mother in a young woman's life? There are lifelong consequences for girls who lose their fathers either through death, divorce, or abandonment. I know.

The story of my struggle to overcome the effects of fatherlessness is captured in my new book Whatever Happened To Daddy's Little Girl: The Impact of Fatherlessness on Black Women. In this book, which is being released May 2, 2000, by One World Ballantine, I weave personal memoir with interviews from other fatherless women, including my own daughter, and from experts. This is the first book written by an African American woman that explores what has become an epidemic in our community, and truth be told much of America. Normally I wouldn't do such shameless advertising, except that this issue — and understanding the role it has played and continues to play in the destruction of communities all over America — is crucial. So please join me this week as I launch my national tour. I will appear on Thursday, May 4, at 7:00 P.M. at Sumner School; this event is being sponsored by Vertigo Books. On Saturday May 6, I will appear at Sisterspace and Books, 1515 U Street NW, from 3-5:00 P.M.; and Sunday at Karibu Bookstore in Prince George's Plaza, 3500 East-West Highway from 3-5:00 P.M. The book, Whatever Happened To Daddy's Little Girl? is not just for women. It also is for the fathers of daughters and for any man who has ever loved, or is currently loving, a fatherless woman.


Play Ball and Inspire Your Mozart
Lois Kirkpatrick,

Meet Tim Wendel, author of Castro's Curveball; Bruce Adelson, author of Brushing Back Jim Crow: The Integration of Minor League Baseball in the American South; Phil Wood, radio announcer and sports memorabilia expert, and former players Chuck Harmon (the Cincinnati Reds) and Joe “Pop” Durham (the Baltimore Orioles) on May 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the George Mason Regional Library in Annandale. Register for this free event by calling 703-256-3800.

Five young soloists perform a free classical recital on Sunday, May 7, at 3:00 p.m. at the Alden Theater of the McLean Community Center, located at 1234 Ingleside Avenue in McLean. These violinists and pianists, ages 9-15, appear as part of the 25th anniversary season of the Music Friends of the Fairfax County Public Library. For more information, go to


DC Center for the Book May Programs
Patricia Pasqual,

The D.C. Center for the Book at DCPL is sponsoring the following author talks in May in conjunction with Vertigo Books at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library. Monday, May 8, 6:30 p.m.: Poet, essayist and teacher June Jordan will share insights from her childhood memoir, Soldier: A Poet's Childhood. Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 p.m.: Elizabeth Kim's autobiographical work, Ten Thousand Sorrows: The Extraordinary Journey of a Korean War Orphan. Thursday, May 25, 6:30 p.m.: Jill Nelson will discuss her new work, Police Brutality: An Anthology. The author is a journalist and former member of the staff of the Washington Post. Saturday, May 6th: Ishmael Reed, who is known for his witty satire and irreverent style will introduce his latest work, The Reed Reader, which contains selections from his novels, poems, and essays.

Programs last about 40 minutes with authors introducing their works, reading selections from their work and answering questions from the audience. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the program. For more information about these programs join Vertigo Book's E-mail list at The Martin Luther King Memorial Library is close to the Metro Center and Gallery Place Metrorail stations. Limited free underground parking is available. Enter from 10th Street and G Place, N.W. From more information, call 727-1186.


ARKA Ballet at the Lisner
Tania Chichmanian,

Some good tickets still available to ARKA Ballet at GW's Lisner Auditorium (21st and H Streets NW) on Sunday, May 7 at 7 p.m. The program features “La Vie en Rose,” a one-act ballet by acclaimed choreographer Mark Mejia, to the popular songs of great French chanteuse Edith Piaf; the world premiere of “Stabat Mater,” a one-act ballet by award-winning choreographer Roudolf Kharatian to the music of Pergolesi; and excerpts from favorites of the classical repertoire. Reserved seating tickets are $30, $25, and $20. Discounts available for students, seniors, and groups. Tickets are available at all TicketMaster locations, online at; and by PhoneCharge at 432-SEAT. For information, call 301-587-6225 or E-mail


Hyde Elementary School Auction, May 5
Bill Starrels,

The Hyde Elementary School, a DC public school located in Georgetown, is holding its annual auction Friday May 5th at the Third Edition in Georgetown from 6-9 pm. Please enjoy fun, food, and bid on great auction items. Items include meals from Georgetown restaurants, autographed items from General Powell, George Will, Cal Ripkin, great sports tickets at MCI and FEDEX/Redskin stadium. All proceeds benefit the Hyde PTA. Call Liz at 338-1547 or E-mail for information or advance tickets.


1st Annual Flea Market and Flower Mart
Leila Afzal,

The John Eaton Elementary School Afterschool Program is holding its first annual Flea Market and Flower Mart on May 6 (rain date: May 13) from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will be antiques for sale, as well as crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and beautiful flowers, plants and bulbs. There will also be food and lots of fun. So on your way to or from the Cathedral's big fair, drop by John Eaton at 34th and Lowell Streets, NW for added opportunities to find great bargains. See you there!


Upcoming Concerts for April and May 2000
Sven Abow,

Saturday, April 29th, 7-11 pm: Pianist Charlie Etzel and Sven Abow on brushes at Sea Food Restaurant “Tony & Joe's” in the Georgetown Harbor, 3050 K St., NW. Saturday, May 6th, 6-10 pm: Mike Wheaton's Latin pop band “Jaleo” with Sven Abow on drums plays for a party of the Central American Support Group at River Road Unitarian Church, 6301 River Rd., Bethesda, MD. Part of the bill is Mt. Pleasant star Lucy Murphy. Sunday, May 7th, time still to be specified: Teen pop band “Sanchez and Stotts” with Sven Abow on bass at afternoon spring fair at Washington Lab School, 4759 Reservoir Road. For questions, comments or to be added or deleted from Sven Abow's mailing list, please contact Sven by E-mail.



Classic Benz
Timothy Cooper,

Classic 1965 Mercedes Benz 190c, 4-door, gray-white, wood paneling, fine condition. Beautiful old car with ivory steering wheel. $5,500, or best offer. Call 244-9479.


Pool Table
David Marlin,

Pool Table —1969 Brunswick Gold Crown, mint condition, original owner. $3,850.



Stonemasons Again
Ms. Dorothy Persiflage,

Ms. P is also in need of some brick work (no snide comments, thank you very much!) and would very much appreciate a recommendation for a reasonably priced, honest, competent stone mason. A tout ta'


Stonemasons Again
Valerie Kenyon Gaffney,

His name is Larry Falcone. His pager number is 301-650-6998. Or you might try him at 301-277-2924. Tell him you heard about him from Valerie Kenyon Gaffney.


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