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July 5, 2000

Everyone Who Is Anyone

Dear Somebody:

Dorothy and I enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks last night from the outlook on the Cardozo High School grounds — the heights that give Columbia Heights its name. In the years that we've been doing this, the crowd there has grown from a couple hundred to a few thousand people, but it's still hassle free. You know you're from Washington when you know the best vantage points. Please share the vantage points from your neighborhoods in upcoming issues of themail.

Gary Imhoff


I Thought Some Might Enjoy This if They Haven't Seen It
Faith Williams,

This is forwarded from our daughter in Florida. Some of it is a little out of date, but some is pretty funny.

You know you're from Washington, D.C., when: Your blood pressure skyrockets when tourists are standing immobile on the left side of the escalator. You would rather suffer heatstroke than drink the city water. You never refer to your boss by their name, just as a title preceded by “the” (The Secretary, The Senator, The Partner). You find yourself saying, “But it's only $1.5 billion.” People just call the city “D.C.” Everyone calls the 10 inches of snow last year “The Great Blizzard.” All the people on the city board know the mayor from their time together in prison. There are 15 main ways out of the city onto the highway but no signs to say where these are. Drivers pick up strangers at bus stops so that they can drive in the H.O.V. lanes during rush hour. You spend two hours to find a parking space and it's for one hour only. The road you are on is suddenly interrupted by a building. People give different directions to get to the same destination depending on the day you are going there. The weatherman declares the weather is suddenly a cool 89 degrees with only 90 percent humidity and you are happy. Diplomatic license plates bring on anxiety attacks. The weatherman calls for two inches of snow, you have to rush to the grocery store to buy diapers, milk, bread, and toilet paper, and you don't even have a baby. You watch the world/national news to find out what to do this weekend. You race for the elevator. You dream of moving to the suburbs only to look out the window of your $300,000 house directly into your neighbor's window, four feet away. Nobody you know actually makes anything. All of your friends are either lawyers, computer people, workers for some government abbreviation (i.e., IRS, DOD, DOI, etc.), workers “for the Pentagon” or “on the Hill” or “for the White House” (i.e., they work for a location, not a person). Knowing somebody who can get you into an embassy, the White House, or congressional party is a status symbol. People talk in acronyms and actually understand each other. When you ask someone what they do for a living they respond, “I would tell you but then I'd have to kill you” — and they're serious. When you hit a softball and it bounces off the Washington Monument, it isn't vandalism; it's a ground rule double. No one you know is actually from there. You think $8 is pretty reasonable for a beer. You get dressed up to go to a Social Safeway for your groceries. Because the Metro stops running at midnight, you have to rush out of the office to catch the last train home.


Good Riddance Ms. Burns
Ron Eberhardt,

Goodbye, farewell, be gone, get it and thank God is my response to the long delayed announcement that DC's public works department head Vanessa Dale Burns is quitting. As large is the problem with Burns as a manger, equally looming is the highly ineffective way that Mayor Williams and his staff handled her long delayed and overdue departure. It contributes to ongoing worry among us that Mayor Williams and his team lack basic understanding of what is required to clean up this morass of a government they inherited. Burns should have been gone six months ago — perhaps, given what we have come to know about her previous jobs, she should never have been hired. Why must DC officials come with such heavy baggage? I.e., DC's new fire chief. Now, the real task is for Mayor Williams and his team to seek out the most highly qualified candidate with the best track record at performance. As important, the new head of this troubled and grossly inefficient department must have latitude to bring in new line managers and hold them accountable for performance. DPW is a huge and important function of city government. It is absurd that routine road projects here take three times longer then neighboring jurisdictions because of bureaucratic rules. Every time a deficiently performing department (DPW, police, education, etc.), say they did things “within departmental standards,” then for heaven's sake change the standard and the process and the procedure to make the work real, worthwhile, and delivered within something resembling reasonable time frames. That is what senior management is supposed to be about. Hello? Mayor Williams, is anyone there listening?


The Next to Go?
Helen M. Hagerty,

Maybe Mr. Newman should be added to the list of the Mayor's exiting appointees. As the director of Parks and Rec., Mr. Newman is having a hard time getting the grass mowed with a $29 million budget. Rec. centers and parks often end up being taken over by their communities if they want to get fixed up. Maintenance is next to impossible with a fleet of few mowers and workers. How hard can it be?

You think our school facilities look bad? Take a look at our parks and rec. centers. There's no excuse. Kids in this city deserve playground equipment that meets national safety standards and playing fields that are trash free and mowed. Rec. centers should be a safe haven where kids can go after school for homework help, constructive activities, and sports.


Georgia Avenue
Ralph Blessing,

As a 13-year resident of a neighborhood abutting Georgia Avenue, I too find the mayor's development plan for that corridor, as well as Councilmember Jarvis's desire to take credit for it, highly suspect. Is there any other explanation for the fact that invitations to the Mayor's announcement of the initiative promoted Jarvis's candidacy on the reverse side? After focusing on downtown development for most of her council tenure, Ms. Jarvis's sudden interest in Georgia Avenue is, in my opinion, a belated recognition on her part of the momentum her primary opponent appears to have: Ward 4 residents have seen few benefits for their communities despite Jarvis's seniority on the council, and are now joining the “Anybody but Charlene” bandwagon in droves. By the way, the Mayor's press release (as quoted on DCWatch) for the Georgia Avenue development project, lists one of the affected areas as Takoma Park, a town that happens to be in Maryland. The adjoining DC neighborhood is simply Takoma, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised that folks at 1 Judiciary Square don't know that.


Lovely Going Away Gifts
Andrea Carlson,

In themail July 2, you write: “The Mayor and the Control Board are continuing to reward these failed city employees with outrageous severance packages — and now, starting with Arlene Ackerman, they're giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in going-away bonuses to 'public servants' who quit voluntarily.” Say what? I've been out of town — have I missed something? Please say it ain't so. If it is, give us some details.

[Another reader asked what legal or regulatory authority exists to give a severance package to Ms. Ackerman. He notes that, “D.C. personnel regulations provide for the possibility of severance for an involuntary separation if separation is not for cause on charges of misconduct or inefficiency,” but that Ms. Ackerman is leaving voluntarily, and he asks how this generosity can be legally justified. The Control Board is giving Ms. Ackerman both a bonus and a severance package, but refuses to say how much these are worth. We are filing a Freedom of Information request to find out by how much, and on what legal authority, taxpayers are being fleeced. (Someone very familiar with the situation suggests that in a normal corporation an employee who quit her job with a year still to run on her contract would be sued by the company for breach of contract, rather than rewarded with a bonus and severance pay.) — Gary Imhoff]


DC Employees Electioneering on Polling Day
John Vaught LaBeaume,

I took a few minutes to discuss DC politics on special election day with folks outside my polling place, Ward 2, precinct 14, St. Thomas' Episcopal Parish, 1772 Church St., NW. Ward 2 council candidate John Fanning had a representative there. I asked a very pleasant gentleman seated on a lawn chair if he were with Fanning too, or with another candidate. No, he replied, he “works for the city.” In a brown envelope, he held “Vote Yes” literature he was to pass out voters as they entered the polling place, the slick piece that many received in the mail more than once.

Was this gentleman on DC government payroll at the time (in violation of the Office of Campaign Finance order)? Are there any other such reports from polling places on the 27th?

[The New School Leadership Committee that led the pro-Amendment campaign had almost no volunteers, and was staffed almost exclusively by city government employees, mostly employees who worked directly in the Mayor's office. The Mayor claims that these employees worked for the campaign after their normal working hours, or that they took paid or unpaid leave to campaign. It appears that some of these employees were granted “liberal leave” — in other words, were kept on the public payroll while they worked on the campaign, without having to take vacation days. We believe that this violates both the spirit and the letter of the OCF order. We are going to file a Freedom of Information Request with the Department of Personnel for leave records for any government employees who campaigned on election day — if you recognized and know the names of any government employees who worked the polls on election day, please let us know. — Gary Imhoff]


Possible School Board Appointments/Candidates?
Anthony Watts,

Now that the referendum is over and apparently won by the mayor's forces, it is time for citizens to seriously consider who should be elected and appointed to the SB. Wilma Harvey has officially announced that she will not run for another term. Has anyone heard anything about possible candidates in her ward? On another note, here are the appointments that I would make to the SB if I were mayor, with (very) brief rationales for my choices. Questions or comments? 1) Jim Ford: former legislative aide to Hilda Mason displayed unmatched number crunching ability and grasp of education budget. 2) Mary Levy: Parents United leader knows the pitfalls of the current D.C. educational “structure” all too well; years of tireless advocacy on behalf of D.C. 3) Delabian Rice Thurston: see #2, above. 4) Emily Washington: superb teacher and student advocate who (I believe) served on the D.C. Educational Emergency Transition Board.


Is Life in Washington REALLY One Giant Racist Conspiracy?
Jane M. Trimble,

I have just finished reading the most recent edition of themail, and I admit it left me baffled and weary. Are there actually people in this town for whom nothing, up to and including the weather, takes place without racial intent? Sorry, I cannot agree. Let's agree that holding four elections in this city in one year is wasteful and tends to discourage voters, who may concentrate on November and skip the rest. Let's agree further that the best time to hold the schools referendum would have been September, as part of the city primary. Let's agree again, that the Council's decision to hold the vote separately and in the late spring or early summer resulted in a lower turnout than would have been the case had it been held earlier or later. Once more we can agree: the mayor was out of place to spend tax dollars to encourage the outcome he wants on a referendum issue; I was proud of the Board of Elections and Ethics (for which I work in elections).

Now: the decision to undertake an experiment with the school board was not made in time for a much earlier vote; a summer vote probably works against middle income voters (who can afford vacations) more than against low income ones; schools-related votes typically have low turnouts because so many people in this city have no children, none still in school, or none in the public schools, or have kept their voting registrations in Wisconsin or wherever, for the obvious reason; and if my impression and what I've heard from at least one person is accurate, the passionate loyalty to the school board in its (still) present form belongs more to born-heres who remember having NO vote, than to moved-heres, who tend to demand that local government be both representative and functional. Further, to those who share my own view of the matter, requiring a school board representative to understand the needs of schools in two wards is a plus, not a minus: we are, after all, talking about wards in a small city, not districts in a sprawling state.

And finally (two notes), school systems employ a whole lot of people, from administrators to cooks, bus drivers, and janitors, so anything that promises change can be threatening because there is a chance of job loss (I once lived in a good-sized rural blue-collar county in which a count showed that one quarter of the county's people were in the school system as either students or workers). The second note is this: I live in First Ward's Adams Morgan area; if there's a racial or income group not found here, I don't know what it is.


Whither the Other So-Called Races?
Susan Ousley,

Pollsters, Post, and politicians persist in breaking down the recent school election — and any other issue in the universe — into black and white. As if there are no people of any other ethnicity(ies) in DC! Here's an idea: let's talk about what really may differentiate voters. On this election, it might be length of time in DC; whether or not they have children in DC schools; how much they rely on certain media to provide information about schools or have some other direct interactions; direct experience with Control Board-run agencies, income . . . you can all think of other factors that, once known, could better help us understand each others' points of view. Unless it serves someone's purpose to divide us?


Split-Rate Property Tax; DC’s Soviet Press
Scott McLarty,

(1) “[H]aving the city pay to board up these properties is hardly a wise use of taxpayer money.” (“Getting While the Getting Is Good” by Nick Keenan, themail, July 2). What DC needs is a split-rate property tax, which would penalize owners who neglect their properties and reward those who make improvements. Right now it's vice versa, and most big property owners prefer to keep it that way, so they can engage in the kind of exploitative speculation Nick laments. Not only do they pay lower taxes under the current system, but they (a) become eligible for federal and city grants when they finally decide to improve; (b) drive out low-income tenants in order to replace them with upscale folks; (c) get to impose any damn project they want, regardless of consequences, and the residents still there won't complain, since they're so sick of trash, crime, rats, crumbling buildings, etc. It'll be difficult to enact a split-rate plan, because of the control the Federal City Council, the Board of Trade, and the real estate industry has over our Mayor and Council members. (If you doubt this, remember that all the principles involved in the Columbia Heights development deal — including the chair of the Redevelopment Land Agency — enjoy memberships or connections with the Federal City Council.) The Washington Regional Network, the Coalition for Smarter Growth, and the DC Statehood Green Party have all endorsed the split-rate tax plan.

(2) Allow me to vent some spleen. Should other DC residents be upset about the following besides those of us active in the DC Statehood Green Party? I'm talking about the erasure from the local media, especially The Post, of any mention of the party, its candidates, and its activities. These include: (a) campaign announcements by DCSGP candidates — you'd never know that incumbents Charlene Drew Jarvis (Council Ward 4) and Harold Brazil (Council At-Large) face non-Democratic competition (Arturo Griffiths and Renee Bowser, respectively); (b) DC and other area appearances by national Green candidate Ralph Nader, which non-DC papers found the space to cover; (c) local involvement in the national Green Party convention in Denver on June 24 and 25 (isn't that what hometown newspapers report?); (d) the “DC to Denver 2000 Freedom Ride” caravan of vans to Denver, with stops in cities across the US, to spread the word about DC's movement for democracy, covered by CNN. If any one or two of these got no coverage, fine, but the complete dearth of attention suggests a “green-out.” Does the failure of the press to report on all choices on the ballot inhibit voters' ability to make informed decisions? Do other themail readers agree with me that censorship of news which does not benefit the ruling party is comparable to the Soviet press? Maybe Statehood Greens talk out loud about the Federal City Council too much.


Go Back to Building Bailey Bridges
Ed T. Barron,

The Corps of Engineers was noted for its exemplary service in World War II, and the Korean and Viet Nam conflicts. Building bridges and fortifications are what the Corps does best. My most memorable service times were as a crew cutted 2nd Lt. in the Corps at Fort Belvoir in the mid 50's. Since then, over the years, the Corps has been involved in a series of projects that have been disasters in the making. All of their projects seem to be incredibly costly and over budget. That's why the Corps of Engineers is so compatible with the D.C. Government.

Not too long ago a report by the Corps claimed that it would be more cost effective to tear down Wilson High School as opposed to making improvements and repairs. Their estimate for improvements and repairs was so high that it is ridiculous. The District seems enamored of the Corps for making estimates of the costs of fixing the D.C. schools. If the District continues to rely on the Corps of Engineers to provide estimates of repairs to the District's schools, and the District attempts to implement these plans, we will be well on the road to fiscal bankruptcy.


Halfway Houses and Schools
Nelson R. Jacobsen,

It is against the law to open a liquor store within 500 feet of a school. It is against the law to park your car in front of the school during school hours. Why should it be OK to locate ex-offenders in transitional living across the street from a school? This is a problem the community of Adams Morgan just faced, and because of the outcry from the residents the proposed facility has not opened. However there are no laws on the books with regards to this situation. And before the NIMBY cries sail forth, our ward has more halfway house and treatment centers than any other, so we are not opposed to bring citizens back into our community. What we don't want are facilities located across the street from Schools in our community or any other.


DMV Improvements
Adam J. Marshall,

I still can't believe it, but I breezed through the H Street NE DMV last Friday — 15 minutes to fill out the form, stand in line, pay, and pick up a brand new, high-tech driver's license. Everyone who assisted me was courteous, professional and competent. Although this particular office is located in a building which should probably be condemned, the service was great and you definitely can't beat the wait time! Kudos to DMV for its recent improvements.


Basic Civility v. Boorish Behavior
Ron Eberhardt,

Thrilled was my reaction to a Washington Post Business Section story on area restaurants that have officially asked diners to turn-off and not use cell telephones in their dining rooms. The very idea that persons must be admonished about such basic civil behavior is astounding. Given that cell phones and pagers alike come with vibrator modes, it is as if the rude person, who refuses to utilize this capability want us all to know how essentially important they are. Adding insult to injury, they then carry on a phone conversation in inappropriate dining room voice, interrupting everyone's dining experience. I wish every sit-down dining establishment would implement such rules of behavior. Regretfully, this childish behavior is not limited to dining establishments. Last month at Wolf Trap for a ballet cell telephones went off THREE times in one performance! Recently, at the upscale Galleria Theater, a man spoke on his cell phone, two seats from me, throughout the previews. Just this weekend two young women, seated directly in front of me, had talked to one another throughout the first ten minutes of The Patriot. I finally asked them to be quiet or move. The talker of the two was indignant and simply didn't get it that her behavior was inappropriate. Finally, is it any wonder that as a society we are seemingly losing our civility when persons speak with gutter terms publicly without hesitation regardless of place or persons around them? Finally, I think the media is a contributing factor. After all, what civil society needs or allows television networks to immediately up the volume on MY television for commercial breaks? Theaters have followed suit by playing previews so loud as to be uncomfortable — perhaps so we can hear the previews over the cell phone talkers! On Independence Day it is a shame that we must make rules and regulations for what otherwise ought to be routine civil conduct. Is America becoming the “be as bad as you wanna be” society? I hope not. The answer is up to each of us.


World War II Memorial
Ed T. Barron,

We don't need another War memorial on the Mall. The Second World War was a really great war (for those who did not have to fight in it) and there are far better ways to memorialize those who fought and died in that war. Perhaps one of the best ways would be to expand the American History Museum and to set up a permanent memorial wing to commemorate the Second World War and those who fought in it. The new museum that opened recently in New Orleans (in a former brewery) pays tribute to those who fought in WW II. Something much more expansive and complete could be crafted for a new wing of the American History Museum that would be a much more fitting tribute to those who fought in that war. We don't need more metal or marble memorials on the Mall.


Cineplex Odeon Foundry
David Sobelsohn,

For many years, the Cineplex Odeon Foundry in Georgetown has served as a second-run cinema art-house. Good films, the art-house type, would go to the C.O. Foundry after a run somewhere else, and cost only $2 or $3 at the Foundry (vs. $7 or more somewhere else). That appears to be changing. Recently I saw the film “Croupier” at the Foundry. I went thinking (a) it would be cheaper than seeing a film elsewhere, and (b) it might be my last chance to see the film on a wide screen before it went to video. Much to my surprise, the Foundry charged the first-run price of nearly $8, just what admission costs at the other Cineplex Odeons around town. They explained that they did so because “Croupier” was still in its first go-round. Short of tracking screenings at other theaters around town, to determine myself if the film is first-run or second-run, does anyone know how to determine, in advance, what it will cost to attend a film at the Foundry? BTW, I liked “Croupier” and recommend it; I just felt snookered (perhaps appropriate given the film's subject!).


Campaign and Other Posters
David Pansegrouw,

Perhaps there could be a review of regulations concerning posters on light poles, stoplights and trees. My main question is if is there any enforcement when too many posters are up (more posters per block than allowed)? Also, can a citizen remove posters when there are too many? Or is that something our efficient government is likely to arrest one for?


Campaign Signs
Mike Livingston,

In response to Bob Levine's question, it is legal to post signs advocating a candidate or a position on a ballot question. Signs attached to public property must be stapled or tied — it's illegal to use tape — and must be removed promptly after the election (within seven days, if I'm not mistaken). Also, there is a limit of three identical signs (or pairs of back-to-back signs) on one side of one block. Many campaigns violate these restrictions, and I've never heard of them being enforced, but theoretically they're enforced through DPW and campaigns can be fined $50 for each sign in violation. Every candidate and campaign treasurer is issued a copy of these regulations by the Office of Campaign Finance.

Damaging or defacing signs posted in compliance with these laws is vandalism, and removing lawfully posted signs is theft.


Who Is?
Pete Ross,

It is unfortunate that Bob Levine will not vote for a candidate because of campaign posters placed in his neighborhood. All of the candidates seeking office in his neighborhood place posters to advertise themselves to the public. Since Mr. Levine will not vote for anyone who has campaign posters, who will he vote for on September 12? It would be very difficult for the democratic process to continue if nobody voted because of campaign posters placed in their neighborhood.


Art Spitzer,

As everyone who is anyone reads this list, I suppose this is the best place to suggest that when the Mayor promulgates his executive order adopting “Taxation Without Representation” as the new license plate motto, he should include a section authorizing (but not requiring) the placement of a decal with the new slogan on top of the old slogan on existing DC license plates. Otherwise the majority of DC plates will continue to proclaim “Celebrate and Discover” or “A Capital City” (or in a few cases “Nation's Capital”) for many years to come. (Decals could be supplied with tag renewals by the DMV or Ed Barron could print them up and sell them in his driveway.)



Local Republican Events
Deering Kendrick,

The D.C. Young Republicans invite you to enjoy Philadelphia 2000! The DCYRs are a group of young, diverse, active Republicans dedicated to improving life in our city and helping Republican candidates in our region. To help accomplish these goals, our club is sending a group of volunteers to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. The Convention is a unique opportunity to promote our activities in the District and help contribute to the success of the GOP. Your attendance at this event will expand and strengthen our club by helping to send our members to the Republican National Convention, and to help fund our projects in the District of Columbia. Come enjoy an evening with Members of Congress, Republican leaders in DC, and DCYR members as we prepare for Philadelphia 2000! Wednesday, July 12, 6:30 pm, American Trucking Association, 430 First Street, SE. Contribution: $25 Young Republican members ($20 annual membership fee); $75 Young Republican supporters. If you have questions or would like further information, please E-mail Craig Albright at or call 251-1783.

Pre-Convention picnic: the DCYRs are co-hosting a picnic with the Young Hispanic Republicans Association, National Council of Black Republicans, Young Elephants PAC, and Young Professionals for George W. Bush. Please join us for a day of fun and festivities. Food and beverages will be provided. Volleyball, softball, and even some political hardball. All free of charge. Saturday, July 8, 1:00 pm, Belle View Residential Complex, 6621 East Wakefield Drive, Alexandria, VA. For more information, please call Anna Hernandez at 546-9276 or E-mail Go to this URL for the online invitation:

###############’s July Calendar of Wine and Food Events
Charlie Adler,

1) July 16th, Sunday, “Taste of Georgetown Wine Around: Food and Wine Walking Tour,” 2-5 PM, Rain or Shine! $45 in advance, tax and tip inclusive, $55 day of (depending on availability). “Wine Around,” a walking tour of Georgetown's finest restaurants combined with a food and wine pairing in each restaurant. Taste French (Senses), American (Tahoga), Thai (Bangkok Bistro), Italian (San Marzano) and Cal-Italian (Paolo's) fare matched with a multitude of wines! Five restaurants, ten wines and ten sampling dishes, paired to match. 2) July 18th, Tuesday, “Embassy of Poland Cultural Reception,” Embassy of Poland, 2640 16th St., NW, (between Euclid and Fuller St., just south of Columbia Road), 7-9 PM reception and tasting, $50 in advance, valet parking available. Join us at the truly lovely Embassy of Poland, one of the original mansions on 16th St. We'll taste a wide variety of Polish delicacies from the Old Country with some really assertive Polish vodkas straight up or mixed in drinks to your liking (wine and beer will be served as well)! Wander the Embassy, taste Eastern European fare, and listen to live classical piano music. Embassy officials will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about changes going on in Poland today, so definitely bring your business card! 3) August 8th, Tuesday, “Christopher Marks Restaurant Food and Wine Event.” More info soon! 4) August 13th, Sunday, “Seafood and Wine Festival at Washington Harbour.” More info soon! 5) September 28th, Thursday, “Embassy of Russia Vodka and Caviar Tasting!” This event will include a Martini Bar, a Caviar Tasting (yes, Beluga and many other fine caviares will be sampled), and authentic Russian fare with a folk dancing demonstration. This is an exclusive event, more info soon! Reservations, phone 333-5588.



Free Firewood.
William Kistner,

Summer may be hot, but winter's just around the corner. Come grab some free firewood we can no longer use. Wood is cut, dry and ready for cold winter nights. Just haul it away and it's yours! E-mail, 237-7277.


Bike for Sale
Bill Starrel,

Kids bike for sale. Barely used two-wheeler red and black bike for a child around 6 to 8 years old. Our son outgrew his bike and we are offering his old one for sale. $50.00. Please call 338-1547.



Vet Recommendation
Valerie Kenyon Gaffney,

With a relatively young kitten, and no experience with vets in the Foggy Bottom area, I made a similar posting about eight weeks ago. After wading through a huge number of responses, and based upon the large number of recommendations they received, I decided to give Dupont Vet Clinic at 2022 P St. NW a try. (Telephone number is 466-2211) I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Giles and the care they have given to Missy.


ISO Fence Builder
Steven Levy,

I am seeking a high-quality contractor to replace a wooden fence located behind a Kalorama Triangle townhouse. I have heard good things about Long Fence. Does anyone have any comments on Long or recommendations of any other firm?


Dave Nuttycombe,

From's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
MONEY WOMAN: Incumbent councilmembers like nothing less than having to sweat tough re-election campaigns in D.C.'s trying summer months. Who, after all, wants to slug it out with pesky challengers at overcrowded, overheated candidate forums?
One of the most effective ways of keeping challengers out of your campaign is to scare them off with cash. In this September's Democratic primary, at-large incumbent Harold Brazil has no competition in part because of the bottom line on his June 10 campaign finance disclosure: $142,000. Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, another incumbent, has raised $204,000 — good enough to scare off all but two dark-horse opponents who entered the race late.
Ward 8 Councilmember Sandy Allen, however, apparently doesn't care much for green-machine politics. Her June 10 disclosure form turns up $4,218. No, LL didn't misplace the comma or miss a digit.
Read the entire Loose Lips column here:

From's CITY LIGHTS page, here are a few early warnings for upcoming events:
SATURDAY: Bat watching in Huntley Meadows Park, at 8 p.m. at the Huntley Meadows Park Visitor Center, 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria. Free.
MONDAY: Building Memorials Beyond the Mall: The Memorials and Museums Master Plan, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 10, at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $12.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at


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