Congratulations on having written a well-rounded issue of themail. There's
something for nearly anyone in this issue, on all kinds of topics. Keep up the good work.
Park Improvement East of the River
Kathy Chamberlain, email@example.com
Here's some neighborhood news, and good news at that. No it's not about a
Parks and Rec park, but a National Park called Twining Square. Over the past four months,
Twining Square has undergone a facelift, thanks to residents of several Southeast
neighborhoods working in partnership with the National Park Service. Twining Square is on
Pennsylvania Ave., SE, between 27th and 28th Streets, just down from St. Francis Xavier
Catholic Church. Unless you saw it before we started you can't appreciate how far it's
come, so treat yourself to the before-after photos on http://www.hillcrestdc.com/pg_twining.htm.
Like many parks along major thoroughfares in the District, this one has suffered serious
neglect over the years. Last winter, Twining Square crossed the line between neglected and
when a truck lost control, jumped the curb, and destroyed a long row of shrubs that lined
the park. The dead shrubs looked bad enough without the litter they attracted as passing
cars and pedestrians tossed their fast food containers, liquor bottles, and other litter
into what looked like a trash heap. We approached the NPS about what could be done and to
make a long story short, in April we signed a 5-year adopt-a-park agreement. NPS gives us
all the materials we request (mulch, fill dirt, replacement shrubs, compost, flowering
plants, water source) and we do the work. So far, they've given us everything we've
requested. About forty neighbors have signed on as Friends of Twining Square.
We have an all-Friends work session one Saturday per month, but some work
more often. One man works in the park almost every day. This is an example of what can be
accomplished when government is smart enough to enlist the help of energetic enthusiastic
residents, and residents are smart enough to recognize that they have to do more than sit
back and whine about lack of services. Parks run by Parks and Rec in our neighborhood are
another story, but we'll stick to good news for this issue and save the bad news for
Chief Ramsey's proposal for adding 200-250 officers in our neighborhoods
made the front page of the Post Metro section Friday. I spoke to two officers
from two different PSAs and asked their reaction to the news. They were cynical about the
proposal. Both of them thought the Chief was coming up with half-baked ideas because he
didn't like the negative headlines in the Post.
Referring to whether the detectives will be any help on the night shift,
one officer said, Where will they be? They'll be in their cars because there's no
supervision. This officer didn't want the detectives put on the street. This officer
instead wanted the return of two cops to the PSA One cop was taken away to answer Chief
Gainer's phone. The other was who taken out of the PSA and put on the focussed mission
team. The other officer I spoke to did not believe he'd get much help from the formerly
desk-bound cops that Ramsey has promised to put on the street. He said, You're
taking people who were in the station and putting them on the street. They're going to be
pissed. Right now it takes half an hour to process an arrest of somebody for possession of
an open container. They're going to take three hours to process an arrest like that
because they don't want to be on the street.
It Makes No Sense
Scott Pomeroy, Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association, firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again the police have decided that the residents of the U Street
corridor don't really matter. I called the Third District at 3:30 this morning to ask why
there was a police car, Unit 3101, blocking the westbound lanes of the 1300 block of U
Street diverting the noisy traffic onto the residential streets. I was told that this was
the only way to control the nightclub crowds, and if we as residents wanted to do anything
than we would have to shut down the nightclubs.
I wonder if they say the same thing to the residents in Georgetown.
Probably not, because they don't close down M street. Would they say the same thing to the
residents in Adams Morgan? No, they would never shut down 18th Street. We continue to be
subjected to second class service. The police know when the clubs are letting out and yet
there were only two cars when I went down and walked U Street. There were 30 or 40
illegally parked motorcycles. There were crowds of people milling up and down U, about 25
standing around watching the police officer talk to one young lady at the corner of 13th
The noise of the traffic, motorcycles and booming stereos, was bad enough,
but then there was the screaming of all the pedestrians walking back to their cars and
interacting with the diverted traffic. This is a case where the solution is worse than the
problem. Late night commercial traffic should remain on U Street. U Street is a commercial
corridor, and we need the city to realize that at 3:30 we have hundreds if not thousands
of people vacating the various clubs. In Georgetown they pull officers from other, less
active PSA's to deal with the overflow. When do we get the same service?
Charlene Drew Jarvis is full of promise, short on results. She can,
however, get a long term obligation for 100 million dollars passed for a new convention
center that we could have done without. Meantime, the neighborhoods are falling in around
us. H. Street, NE, is a shame to the city, but do you think she has attempted to get us
any funds to revitalize it? No, she's too busy getting Bell Atlantic to donate to her
campaign. It is time that we take our city from those that still represent the same kind
of politics that Marion Barry brought to DC. Jarvis is one of them, Brazil the other. They
both should go.
Is There a Law about Having Sidewalks?
Susan Bahcall, email@example.com
This past 4th of July I was walking over to the Palisades area of
Northwest Washington to watch the parade. The walk was pleasant until I got to one fairly
lengthy stretch of a prosperous looking street going into MacArthur Boulevard. The blocks
in this area had no sidewalks. The lack of a sidewalk was a minor inconvenience (it just
slowed me down a bit) but I wondered, since I had to walk over people's front lawns to
avoid the road, if I was trespassing. Was I breaking a law? Are there any DC laws
requiring homeowners to have sidewalks? I didn't feel comfortable walking in the road,
because there was a fair amount of traffic even in this suburbanish area.
Sears Building Is Historic
Thorn Pozen, firstname.lastname@example.org
In response to Ed Baron's characterization of the results of the recent
E-mail survey regarding the former Sears Building in Tenleytown, I want to remind Ed that
the building is already a designated historic landmark in the District. As such, it is
protected from changes to its exterior which would alter the historic character of the
building. That bridge has been crossed.
I do support Home Depot coming in to the neighborhood. But, as one of the
people who worked very hard to get the Sears building designated by the D.C. Historic
Preservation Review Board, I, and many like me, am concerned about maintaining the
historic character of the building. Let's not get carried away by the prospect of Home
Depot. Instead, the community needs to work with the developers of the site and with Home
Depot to ensure that in the end we get a great new store without, however, giving up an
important piece of our past.
McKinley High School
Ed T. Barron, email@example.com
Lots of palaver about making McKinley into a Magnet High
School. As I sit up here in the Big Apple, where I attended one of the country's
most famous magnet schools, Brooklyn Technical High School, (and passed by that ten-story,
one whole city block structure just yesterday) I know that such a school could never exist
in that form in D.C. When I attended Tech in the '50s it was an all boy's
school with 6000 (count 'em) boys who had taken, and passed, a competitive citywide
entrance exam. Today the school is largely minority populated and with those of the female
persuasion making up at least 40% of the student body. There are no longer 6000 students
because the entrance and retention standards have been maintained and fewer students apply
and/or pass the strict entrance exam.
That won't fly in D.C. You could not require District students to pass a
qualifying entrance exam to get into the school. So the whole concept of a
Magnet school won't work in the District. The best that could be accomplished
is to set up a special program within McKinley, or whatever school is selected. That
program would require special qualifications, much like honors programs in some of the
schools in MD and VA (and in the private schools).
I recently read The Bell Curve, but I'm not going to jump into
that hotbed because I think the problems we suffer in D.C. are due something not covered
in The Bell Curve attitude. Everyone will no doubt have their own
characterization what constitutes a bad attitude. Mine is sullen resentment whenever
response to others or a job is required. Some examples might clarify. 1) At Magruders I
bought several cases of beer, each comprised of two 12-packs. I was alone in the store at
the time, and all the cashier had to do was to scan each 12-pack; the cash register
automatically made corrections for case pricing. When I got home I realized that I was
undercharged, because one 12-pack was not scanned. The management of the store no doubt
thinks they have a theft problem, when the problem is really a cashier with a bad
attitude. Making sure each item is scanned requires only rudimentary ability AND focus on
the job at hand. 2) At a recent visit to the DMV four employees behind the counter argued
and harangued each other for twenty minutes, as if the customers in front of the counter
didn't even exist. 3) We have a police chief who believes that a request for more police
visibility is micromanagement. 4) Any request to a station manager within
Metro is likely to be treated as an intrusion on their personal time. The recently
reported story about the response of Metro personnel to someone with a problem with a
SmartCard is an example of a perpetual problem. 5) Several years ago someone in the DC
Government who had the power to solve a problem for me first asked with indignation:
how did you get my number? 6) There is a sink-hole on my street, probably due
to a leaking sewer line under the street. Rather than determine that the need for
continual repairs indicates a real problem, the city crews keep patching it over. 7) When
the now-departed DPW director was pressed about trash that was not picked up and streets
that were not plowed, she replied that the citizens expected too much. 8) Mayor Williams
knows that some contracting people within the DC Government are doing a lousy job, wasting
money and denying citizens services. Yet no changes are made.
We have moved beyond the original intent of equal right legislation, equal
opportunity, to today's apparent goal of equal outcomes. In the process, the concept that
some people have more ability than others has been trashed. What has also been apparently
trashed is the option to require the right attitude for the job. I'll buy the fact that
people have different levels of ability that cannot be changed (I haven't forgotten The
Bell Curve completely), but I will not buy the argument that people cannot provide
the right attitude and work ethic. Each of us in society has a personal constituency that
we need to satisfy and a boss; even the CEO has a board of directors. Requiring a proper
attitude is not an imposition, it is just asking all citizens to pull their weight.
DC Marketing Center
Daniel Turner, firstname.lastname@example.org
So I got a call (well, four, and a letter, and a flyer) recently from the
Washington, DC, Marketing Center (http://www.dcchamber.org/business/).
They're apparently affiliated with the Mayor in that they've been asked (commissioned?
paid? cajoled?) to do a survey of current owners of DC businesses. This is no phone thing.
They actually come out to my business and interview me for 25-30 minutes on what I like
and don't like about DC. In fact, they're apparently going to do this once per year.
According to the brochure, it's a customer service call . . . we promise a tailored
and rapid response to your firm's needs and concerns. They specifically say they'll
help out with traffic lights, legislation, or whatever else they can. Sounds too good to
be true. I'll give it a shot, of course, but I thought I'd run it by the keen readers of
themail to see what they think. Anything I should stress in my interview with my
Outreach Specialist? And why me? Are they doing this with all the businesses
in DC, or the ones that bring in more than a certain amount, or the ones in Northwest, or
Bruce Monblatt and Vic Miller's posts about the Orioles and Latin players
suggests a related question: what about the allegation that the Orioles, to avoid
upsetting their arrangement with Castro, have been reluctant to sign Cuban émigré
players? On the one hand, US policy towards Cuba has made virtually no sense at least
since the breakup of the Soviet Union, why should we encourage illegal immigration, the
Orioles may be making a rational business decision, and it's disgusting to see Jesse Helms
pose as a defender of civil rights. On the other hand, perhaps a baseball team shouldn't
have its own foreign policy, and employment discrimination based on national origin is
illegal whatever the employee's national origin or occupation. What do folks think?
Doggie Calling Cards
Gaelyn Davidson, email@example.com
In the last edition of themail, in a posting entitled, Road Warriors
and Doggie Calling Cards, Victor Chudowsky, firstname.lastname@example.org,
writes: Third, you can use the fairly unpleasant 'bag' method. But then what do you
do with the bag? Without a public trash can close by, the unlucky dog owner is often
forced to walk several blocks holding a fragrant bag of used dog food. Any dog owner who
does this is familiar with the feeling of, 'gee, I hope nobody I know sees me and they
want to chat, or worse still, shake hands.' C'mon, suck it up! You knew that dogs
pooped before you got one! (PS, in case this level of jocularity offends, I am only
Most responsible dog owners I know use the bag method. If you knot the
plastic bag after you've picked up the prize, then you don't have the smell or smear
issue. And most people understand, when you're walking your dog, that there's an intended
outcome, whether you're currently holding a bag or not. I'm actually glad to see dog
owners holding bags as they finish their route because it means one less poop on the
ground for folks to fault ME (and other responsible humans) for. Incidentally, my dog
generally chooses to deposit near another deposit, so I can usually do a two-fer-one
scoop. And if another dog's pile is obnoxiously placed, I always carry extra bags. When I
see dog owners letting their dog's deposit go unscooped, I usually call out and offer them
one of my baggies assume that they intend to do the right thing and they generally
will. After all, who can get belligerent over a kind offer?
Back to Nature
Willie Schatz, email@example.com
Fuhgeddaboud all these complicated dog disposal methods. Just put it back
from whence it came. Carry a trowel. When the dog does its thing, dig a small hole and do
with it what Brutus and the boys did to Caesar. End of story. No plastic. No
surreptitiously dumping it into a neighbor's Supercan (which aren't, but that's another
piece.) No polluting the soil or the Chesapeake. This boy and his golden retriever do it
all over Adams Morgan, Kalorama, Mount Pleasant when they run there. What could be more
Washington Post as Community Supportive?
Phil Shapiro, firstname.lastname@example.org
You'll be glad to hear that the Washington Post, which beats up
our communities day in and day out, is now offering the opportunity for you to build a
neighborhood or civic group web site. Surely those who are civilly inclined think first of
the Washington Post as a supporter of our communities, a nurturer of all that is
good in our neighborhoods, and the perfect place to construct a neighborhood web site.
Does that make a lot of sense? For me, the endless drumbeat of negativity negates any
affinity I feel towards the Post. When someone repeatedly punches me in the face,
I'm less inclined to respond to their social invitations.
The Least, the Last, and the . . . Uninformed?
Mark Richards, Dupont East, email@example.com
The Republicans produced a spectacular Convention, and I'm happy to see a
softening of their rhetoric as well as African-American gospel choirs and biracial
children. They're clear about what is at stake (It's the White House,
stupid!), and I would expect this to scoop off some moderate votes. George Wallace,
Jr., said Republicans need to reach out to the Least, the Last, and the Lost.
(What is the history of that line, anyway?) Pennsylvania Governor Ridge said, George
doesn't look to a focus group. He looks to his heart. George will be a candidate we can
trust. He credited George W. for being the founding father of the
new Republican Party. Although disenfranchised D.C. isn't an issue most of the
country is even aware of, so far it looks like the new Party offers D.C. the
least hope for gaining political equality and is the last Party to even pay lip service to
the one person/one vote principle for D.C. it's as if they're still arguing about
whether D.C. should be in the back of the bus or off the bus altogether. Some in the local
Republican leadership say their candidate is uninformed on D.C. (lost?). But it isn't
clear whether George W. is uninformed about D.C., or unprincipled for partisan reasons.
Assuming there is room for education, maybe somebody could remind George W.
why George Washington led a Revolutionary War for freedom from King George. Can he not
imagine that exclusive legislative authority by the U.S. Congress is as repulsive to
Americans and to D.C. citizens today as exclusive legislative authority by Parliament was
to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and colonial subjects? Political equality for
D.C. should not be a partisan issue, but the new Republican leadership, like
the old, shows that it is. (And this is not to say the Dems are going to be much better.
The argument that if you aren't capable of self-government you shouldn't
have it is circular. Just as children never allowed to make their own decisions never
learn responsibility, a society denied self-government never learns how to govern itself.
If DC's mayor and city council at times seem irresponsible, perhaps at least a partial
explanation lies in chronic congressional second-guessing.
Abandon Hopeless Histrionics
Thomas C. Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org
As myself and the rest of the civilized world now know, the Abandon
Hope sign hung over the gates of hell in Dante's Inferno, not Auschwitz. The gate of
Dachau, not Auschwitz, had the more ironic message, Work is Freedom. I
apologize for the sloppy transposition in quotations in alluding to the
hopelessness of dealing with the Bureau of Adjudication. But puh-leeze, no
more self-righteous puffery in trying to link this to the Holocaust. Never thought that,
never meant that, and I suspect all the holier-than-thou, wildly indignant chest-thumpers
know that. I hope.
I can't think of a better way to get the word out to the nation about DC's
disenfranchised state than to tell reveal the painful truth intelligently on film. So
please join with me in supporting Rebecca Kingsley and her film, The Last
Colony. She is hosting a special sneak preview on September 7th, and I believe she
deserves every measure of our support. Plus it should be a blast, what with Lucy Murphy
and Sam Smith belting out tunes. The preview will be on Thursday, September 7th, 7 p.m. to
11 p.m., at the Josephine Butler Parks Center, 2437 Fifteenth Street, N.W. Your
tax-deductible donation is greatly appreciated in covering the production costs of a film
that is the culmination of more than two years of research, interviews, and filming of
this great city. As a SUPPORTER, your $25 advance ticket ($30 at the door) will provide
you two complimentary drinks and light fare. As a PROVIDER, your $100 ticket will also
include a FREE D.C. hat and a credit in the film. As a DONOR, your $250 ticket will also
include an advance VHS copy of the film. As a PATRON, your $500 ticket will also include a
VIP invitation to the film's premiere. Make checks payable to the Association of Oldest
Inhabitants, and note on the memo line, The Home Rule Film Project.
I'm taking the plunge it's time to run for office. As you may have
heard, the D.C. City Council just passed a new law that greatly increases the penalties
for marijuana in the District of Columbia. And Congress is currently voting to block
D.C.'s medical marijuana initiative for the third year in a row. It is because of this
that I have recruited a slate of candidates who are running for office in D.C. with the
express purpose of calling for an end to the war on marijuana users. As for me, I'm
running for the office of D.C. Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Other
candidates are running for City Council seats. We have until August 30 to collect 5,000
signatures from D.C. registered voters. Would you please consider donating three hours of
your time to help collect signatures for my candidacy?
Residents of Virginia and Maryland can participate, too, simply by teaming
up with a D.C. registered voter who is circulating petitions. If you are interested in
volunteering or even getting paid $1.00 per signature to circulate the petitions
for other candidates please simply reply to this message. If you respond to this
message, I will E-mail you my new home address and phone number, and I will find a
convenient way to get some petitions to you. If you prefer, we can pair you off with
another petitioner so that you won't have to do it alone.
Prevent Child Abuse
Norah Lovato, email@example.com
Prevent Child Abuse of Metropolitan Washington is seeking volunteers to
staff the Crisis and Family Stress Hotline and the PhoneFriend Supportline for children.
Training is provided in telephone counseling, communication, and crisis intervention
skills. Next training begins in September. Call PCA/MW at 223-0020 for more information
and an application.
Due to the growth in our league and other leagues in the area, the two
umpire associations that we use have been unable to provide us with full coverage for all
of our games this year. To avoid this problem during our Spring 2001 season we have
decided to supplement their coverage by forming our own umpire association. The MSBL
National Umpire Association has agreed to provide training for our umpires prior to the
start of the season. If you're interested in making some extra money and being involved in
the game you love, sign up today. And don't forget to tell your friends to sign up!
Looking for Apartment/House in DC Metro Area
Sarin Hacatoryan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for two or more bedroom apartment/house in the greater DC area
(Arlington and Silver Spring areas okay too). Have a small dog. Parking preferable. Don't
want to spend more than $1200 for a 2 bedrooms, $1500 for 3 bedrooms. Please call Sarin or
Nicole at 393-3434 from 9-5 Monday-Friday, and 236-8593 after 5. Would like to move in
Tired of talking politics? Let's talk about theater! dcplay is a free
social group for theatergoers aged 35 and under that organizes get-togethers centered
around a DC-area play. It usually involves food and drinks, but always involves a fun
time. For more information and to subscribe, go to http://www.egroups.com/group/dcplay or
New Organic Grocery Store
There is a wonderful small organic grocery store in Mt. Pleasant, 3155 Mt.
Pleasant Avenue. It has a good selection of vegetables and fruits, very reasonably priced.
It also has bulk items such as beans and pasta. Dried fruit and nuts come prepackaged. The
store is called the People Garden. Its hours are 9 am-2 pm and 4 pm to 9 pm Monday through
Friday. There are also Saturday and Sunday hours. So far I have not found parking there
The Latest Re-Incarnation at 18th and Columbia
Holly Olson, email@example.com
I have only lived in Adam's Morgan for four years, but that's enough to
witness the many restaurant re-incarnations at 18th and Columbia. At the rate that
restaurants leave that location, one would think it's cursed. When I first moved in there
was Boston Market. Then came the fast food Vietnamese/Mexican takeout called Restaurant
#1. (To top it off, it was painted bright pink). Mercifully, it went out of business. It's
replacement is called something like Bread & Kabobs.
I wanted to mention this in themail because the place is a nice addition
to the neighborhood takeout scene. Their menu is limited to you guessed, bread and
kabobs. But what they do, they do a good job with. The chicken is a particularly good bet
a nice marinade and very tender. The meat and vegetables are grilled while you
wait, so you know they haven't been sitting around. Whenever I walk by, the place always
seems to be empty. So I urge my fellow A.M. residents to give it a try. Hopefully, this
place will be able to stick around longer than some of the previous tenants.
Wolf Trap Ticket Exchange
Alison Kamat, firstname.lastname@example.org
I thought I'd share something I discovered recently with those of you
trying to sell Wolf Trap tickets. Wolf Trap allows ticket holders to exchange their
tickets for a future performance. Exchanges must be done in person at the Wolf Trap box
office at least 24 hours prior to the performance date on the ticket and can only be done
if the patron already has the tickets.
Where Should I Donate These Items?
Christina Samuels, email@example.com
I have a computer desk, a cushionless papasan chair, a microwave, some
books, clothes and other household items I'd like to donate to some worthy organization.
Nothing fabulous, just serviceable stuff. Problem is, a lot of the pieces are too bulky
and heavy for me to get in my car. Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the like couldn't care
less; they don't pick up in apartment buildings or it's not enough stuff for them. Does
anyone have any suggestions for me?
Grass Cutter/Weed Puller Needed on Hill
Joan Eisenstodt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kids don't seem to do that any more but we need someone to cut a VERY
small strip of grass in the front of our house and pull weeds and do general yard
maintenance. Any ideas on the Hill?
Elizabeth M Wulkan, email@example.com
We have been told that we need new gutters for our house in Shepherd Park.
Can anyone recommend a person or company which does good work and installs gutters for a
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