Now that we're concentrating on neighborhood news, here I come throwing a
monkey wrench in the works. The general election is coming in just 27 days, and there are
at least five races that are completely open and entirely undecided the races for
the Board of Education president and "district" representative seats. Most of
the candidates in these races are relatively unknown to most of us, so I'm asking you what
I have asked in nearly every previous election: who do you like, who do you dislike, and
what recommendations do you have for how we should vote?
But please, keep writing in about what's happening on your corner. I don't
know half of the things you tell me.
Trash Transfer Stations: Trashing Our Neighborhoods
Julie Eisenhardt, firstname.lastname@example.org
As many residents are already aware, the Trash Transfer Station Task Force
is recommending that the city build yet another transfer station, this time in DC Village.
But what is being left out of this discussion is the flawed system of waste handling that
brings us to need another station. DC recycles at about 14% right now. If the city
invested part of the money it would spend on creating this station on recycling promotion,
we would consolidate enough of the trash to not need a new station. DC's current stations
are not operating efficiently. They use antiquated technologies and often, because of
equipment failure, do not operate up to capacity. The city could invest in fixing the
current stations rather than building a new one.
When building a facility that poisons neighborhoods, increases rodent
populations, and lowers property values is being considered, we need to look for the
long-term solution, not the quick fix. DC needs to fix its waste collection
and transfer system before expanding it. The Trash Transfer Station Task Force is having
an open meeting on their recommendations on Saturday, October 21, at 10 a.m. at Trinity
Week Two No Lights
Sally MacDonald, Sn3macd@aol.com
[An open letter to Mayor Williams:] As we enter our second week of no
streetlights in Woodley Park, courtesy of our own DC government DPW who sent
construction crews in who cut the cable, we wonder who will be able to solve the problem.
Pepco has supposedly been working all week and is still unable to fix it. The week so far:
DPW came in, dug big holes, to give us what we already had -- wheelchair ramps. DPW cut
the streetlight cable; Pepco cannot fix it. We have had to climb/walk around the
construction sites, into the street and traffic, in the dark. WASA has been digging in
Klingle Valley they say it is because the road is to be rebuilt and that the
Mayor wants it rebuilt, so they have to work! They cut a water line and had fire
hoses strung for blocks, attached to hydrants that were spewing water all around. The
machinery was grinding and churning until 11 PM on Friday.
Clinton came for dinner with friends on Friday night, in the dark, through
the water, near the grinding machinery. The police special operations did
their usual moving of the residents' legally parked cars and in full view of other
residents, parked the cars illegally, so that the residents, after playing the game of
Find the Car, also found the tickets ON the cars. We were fine on our own
before DPW, WASA, and Special Operations.
What is the situation with the lights? Who is responsible? Whom do we sue
if we fall in the dark the City, DPW, the sub-contractor, PEPCO? As it is now, only
the residents are providing light at night; are we now sub-contractors to the city?
Should/could we charge/deduct for our service? We will keep you informed. Could you please
keep us informed?
Ordway Street, an Open Letter to Kathy Patterson
Samuel J. Carabetta, Jr., email@example.com
I live in Cleveland Park on Ordway Street. The road bed on Ordway, east of
34th Street, is collapsing. There is a large hole in front of 3314 Ordway where the road
is now starting to separate. The road bed, which is sinking in the center, continues from
3314 down to the bottom of the hill. I have called and E-mailed all to the appropriate
offices and to a Mr. Rice with no response. This has now become a very dangerous stretch
As our Ward 3 Councilmember I hope you will do something about this, since
I am not getting a response as a DC taxpayer. What does does it take? I look forward to
hearing from you.
Destroying Cleveland Park To Save Klingle Park
Charlie Wellander, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Monday, October 9, someone damaged many trees along Connecticut Avenue
from Ordway Street south to the National Zoo, and on 34th Street, by illegally attaching
notices with heavy-duty staples into the living bark of these trees. Hundreds of the same
notices were stapled to telephone poles along many of the residential side streets of
Cleveland Park. Ironically, these are advertisements for volunteers to help clean up
Klingle Valley. They include the Sierra Club logo. Perhaps these were put up by the group
that wishes to keep Klingle Valley as a park, rather than rebuild the road. If so, and as
a long-time supporter of that group, I say that this sort of behavior lends credence to
our opponents' charges of elitism and concern only with the area immediately adjacent to
Klingle Valley (where none of these obnoxious signs were posted). Personally, I love the
trees along Connecticut Avenue even more than the ones in the parks, as I see the street
trees every day. I detest that they have been abused, possibly by situational
environmentalists who only wave the green flag when it suits their self-interest.
Analogous to the politicians' challenges concerning use of soft money, I
challenge all groups and individuals concerned about Klingle Road/Park to refrain from
using public space for advertising of their cause. The Repair Klingle Road
folks have made a good start with signs in private front yards, instead of signs in public
space. Now is the time for those who style themselves environmentalists to get on board.
Bibliography: "The Tragedy of the Commons" by Garrett Hardin (1968), http://dieoff.com/page95.htm.
The Brentwood Shopping Center
Richard Layman, Northeast DC, RichLayman@lettera.net
The new shopping center in Brentwood will be a great thing, especially
since I live down the street 6th St. NE turns into Brentwood. I don't think the
traffic up there is that bad (unlike another writer to themail). Certainly, there is
plenty of room for the road to be be widened and additional stoplights can be added.
However, I have already communicated some thoughts about this to Mayor Williams' office.
(a.) I would like to see some beautification efforts along 6th Street, NE, between K
Street and Florida Avenue, since it's somewhat stark at present and many more people will
be traveling on this stretch of road. (b) It is important to improve turn-on/turn-off
access at New York Avenue, NE, and Brentwood Avenue, NE, since many people will be coming
to the center from New York Avenue. It's really hard to make such turns at present.
Obviously, I would hope that these issues are addressed before the center opens, rather
I think this center is a great event. Even if a Home Depot opens in
Tenleytown, from where I live it still is much faster for me to go to the Home Depot in
College Park. (And to the other person about Strosnider's . . . from where Ed Barron
lives, it's probably faster to go to the one in Bethesda.) The one downside about the new
center is that in the intermediate term, it will probably kill redevelopment efforts for
Too Many Million Family March Posters
Kathy Chamberlain, email@example.com
If the Million Family March organizers wanted to insult DC neighborhoods
and degrade their own message of family unity at the same time, what could they do?
Answer: plaster the neighborhoods with posters to the tune of 35 per block. Yesterday
morning, that was the average along Branch Avenue, S.E., between Southern and Pennsylvania
Avenues. When posters appeared on our trees last week we complained strongly to march
organizers and to city officials, then removed them ourselves. Over this past weekend
march organizers fastened posters to every vertical object (except trees) along major
streets. One intersection (Southern and Branch Avenues) had 38 posters. Today there are
somewhat fewer posters because angry residents have begun removing them. Unfortunately
they too quickly fill up the public trash receptacles. Are other neighborhoods being
bombarded like this, or are east-of-the-river neighborhoods the only ones so blessed?
We've insisted that our political candidates stay within the 3-poster-per-block law. Do
the march organizers believe they are above the law? Or is it one of those laws that only
gets enforced when it's politic?
Balmy Bureaucracy Frees Florida Fido
Gregory Diaz, Zaidmot@aol.com
It may be small consolation, but the District does not stand alone in
suffering the curse of bad directories and infernal voice mail compounding the
incompetence of labyrinthine bureaucracy. Visiting the hamlet of Palm Bay, Florida on
family business, I happened across a vicious dog Sunday morning while on my daily
constitutional. This lovable to someone, but snarling, fur-raised, and well-fanged beast
to everyone else, not only cornered me for a good ten minutes but took time off to harass
a child passing by on a bicycle. Knowing that this wasn't 911 type business, I first
looked for the police non-emergency number in the local directory. Well, that turned out
to be the voice mail of the police chief's secretary, who would get back to me
during office hours. I finally found the main police number in another directory and was
told to call the animal control emergency number. Yep. That was the animal
control voice mail, which directed me to yet another emergency number. I tried
that number and got a resounding busy signal. At that point I set civic duty adrift
after all, I don't really live here and hoped Fido wouldn't be out during my next
Palm Bay is a model of the so-called New South: basically white,
reasonably integrated in its public services, relentlessly self-promoting, packed with
Bush Republicans. So none of the usual facile excuses or glib accusations apply. What then
is the common denominator? Are these universal symptoms of a declining empire that has
lost its values? Or just irritants? Beats me.
One Book I Can Do Without
David Pansegrouw, firstname.lastname@example.org
I just received yet another copy of the so called One Book
a telephone book I never wanted or asked for. Is there anyone else who thinks it is
rather heavy junk mail? It has come to me via the mail and neighborhood distributors. It
used to be owned by Donnelley Publishing (or something close to that); I tried to
communicate with them to stop receiving it but it kept on coming. Now it is owned by
someone else; time will tell if they respond to my E-mail request to be spared.
The One Book seems to me to be one of the most insidious pieces of junk
mail you can't return it unless you pay postage, and as tax payers we pay a bit to
cart it away either as recycling or garbage. To me it is legal littering. From my brief
checking of DC regulations, it is illegal to deliver advertisements if they are thrown
from a car, but anyone can leave any blah blah printed material on my doorstep. Likewise,
the post office; anyone can mail me anything bulk rate, yet I cannot refuse it. Perhaps if
many people scratched their name out and dropped the offending articles in the nearest
post box, the postal service might reconsider their advertiser friendly policies. Imagine
if junk mailers had to pay postage for items refused!
Grocery Cards and Privacy
Larry Lesser, LBLesser@aol.com
Just thinking about privacy and grocery discount cards. When I was a small
boy and my mom sent me to the grocery store with a list, the man behind the counter knew
my name and knew my family's buying habits. If we heard about a product the store didn't
carry and we mentioned it to the store they could stock it on their shelves. If the store
had something new in stock the human person at the counter could suggest that we try it.
We took it for granted that that was how business was conducted. We thought of it as good
customer service, if we thought about it at all. Now, of course, I know better. Now it's
an invasion of my privacy when my supermarket offers discounts for using their card and
giving them data about my shopping preferences. Interesting how times change.
James E. Taylor, Jr., Park Skyland Community, S.E., email@example.com
In response to your surprise of not receiving more comments on the TV show
The District is really a barometer to the credit of the sensitivity of D.C.
residents not to become upset about a fictitious television show that happens
to take place in the District. This is not a documentary; it is simply a
television show. If it shows similarities in reference to the lack of moral
character of political leadership in this city, I don't think we have an argument. It may
serve to help some of who have worn blinders for long to realize what corruption is and
the negative impact it has on the well being of the population being served. Hey, if the
show fits, you should not acquit. This city has not been, to this date, on the moral high
ground since home rule.
My husband and I watched The District and thought it was
terrible. Aside from some exterior shots, there was little about the show to indicate that
the people who put it together did any research about our city or its people. For example,
during the show a map of the city's crime statistics is presented which indicates that all
types of crime blanket the city heavily and uniformly. According to the map, the only part
of the city where no crimes ever occur is in the area around the National Mall. It makes
DC look like a war zone.
Taking my own local bias out of this critique, I still judge The
District to be plain old stinky. Race and ethnicity are used for dramatic effect
throughout the show. Almost all of the crooks (in uniform and out) are minorities. The
prominent white characters are portrayed as do-goodniks who will save the city from
itself. Police Commissioner Jack Mannion, Craig T. Nelson's character, is a joke. (Is
Nelson really a buffoon, or does he just play one on TV?) His management style includes
publicly berating high level officers in front of their subordinates upon first meeting
them. His chief statistician Ella has been faithfully generating accurate reports on an
antiquated system for a decade despite the fact that no one reads them (even the most
dedicated public servant would eventually find a better use of her time). Ella's nephew
witnesses his mother's death at the hands of his father (of course, everyone in DC has an
immediate relative who's been murdered). Rather than staying with her nephew after a
trauma that will affect him for the rest of his life, Ella hands him over to a babysitter
just hours after the murder so she can be by her boss's side in the middle of the
night! The only people who turn up for the funeral are Mannion, Ella, and her nephew.
Doesn't Ella or her sister have any family or friends? At least the babysitter should have
shown up. The list goes on.
It is astonishing how much crud can be packed into a single hour of
programming. I wish I could say that The District was so bad that it was good.
But it wasn't. It was just bad.
I don't watch much TV, so have no opinion except what I read of Tom
Shales's blast. But on the strength of that, I'd be glad to join a boycott of the
program's sponsors if someone wants to organize it.
I hate to admit it, but I didn't hate the premiere episode of The
District. Granted the acting wasn't that great but many of the things the new chief
has/had to deal with are similar. The show would probably be better if it focused on the
city in general and on how difficult it is to improve things. It would be more accurate
and less over the top. But only the unfortunately unheralded EZ Streets of a
few years back really covered municipal corruption/dysfunction (not that I am saying the
city is corrupt).
One of the reasons I like it is that it is a proponent of Bratton-style
problem-oriented policy, based on the ideas of George Kelling and James Wilson with regard
to public order maintenance and a data-based method for addressing (to reduce) criminal
activity. Here are some cites if you're interested:
(the original Fixing Broken Windows article from 1982);
(a follow up article from 1989 called Making Neighborhoods Safe); and
(which is an interview with George Kelling and Catherine Cook, authors of the book Fixing
Broken Windows, with some links to a couple of the book's chapters)
Plus, the latest issue of City Journal (I know, I know, but it has good,
provocative articles about municipal issues, even if it is considered
conservative) has an excellent article about what they consider to be the best
police force in the U.S., the NYPD, at http://www.city-journal.org/html/10_3_americas_best.html.
Its Only Fiction in the District
Mark Richards, Dupont East, firstname.lastname@example.org
I watched The District (I don't think it affected the ratings!) and found
it cliched and stereotypical. Not that I expected more, but wanted to see for myself. The
assertion made throughout that DCPD cops are lazy (for example, two cops were sleeping as
a rape victim crawled to their car and woke them) is not my experience. I won't get into
the race thing, but one could argue fairly strongly that it is race profiling . . . both
African-Americans and Hispanics fit the negative profile in most cases (where is the NAACP
when you need them? Down in SC fighting confederate flags, I suppose.) Maybe because of my
experiences in NC and KY, I've always felt most DC cops are fair (compared to being in an
area where one can be harassed for nothing but ones northern accent). Every time the
singing police chief (yes, I think he likes musicals) walks somewhere, he's in front of
the Capitol or a monument; not sure why he spends so much time on the mall, but he does.
Perhaps he'll do a Singing in the Rain routine in upcoming versions, or sing New York, New
York, since I think that's where his character is from. And our dear Mayor in the
fictional District . . . he's just there to protect his image. The Mayor hides the crime
stats, doctors them up, and that way, crime is going down. (Could this be true? Is our
crime going down because somebody is doctoring the stats?) So the new Police Chief likes
the statistician (an African-American woman) and fully funds that office (hey, I support
that). The writers, in part, blame Congress for the problem, saying they have many police
forces, while poor DC has one that is lazy and ignore the neighborhoods. Not that there
aren't examples. I don't know. This is just more of the same bad DC PR, reinforcing. But,
what do DC citizens think?
Rating of the job the District Police are doing by DC citizens (Washington
Post poll of 811 residents Feb. 4-7, 2000, margin of error is plus or minus 3.5
percentage points) 63% said excellent or good, 33% said not good or poor, 4% no
opinion. How safe do you feel from crime in your neighborhood 80% at least somewhat
safe, 20% not too or not at all safe. DCPD can improve its image among DC citizens. But
The District is only fiction and the writers don't know DC. Nothing new there. And,
judging by the amount of press coverage among DC citizens, to see what they think about
it, there is nothing new with the press. What network is going to attack CBS? Right. Yawn.
Hurray for Hollywood, da, da, da, da, Hollywood!
Exegetically exacting explication elucidates that Gary Imhoff's foreword
to the October 8th themail reveals all the answers to its own questions. You want a
comment on television's version of The District? Trolling isn't
any fun if it doesn't provoke an outraged reaction, and silence is a good fire
extinguisher. Segueing from fires and flamers, it was brilliant to quote the
precautionary prediction (from a 1944 movie!) about our new fire chief, when Mr. Charlie
Chan said, Evidently, Few present have forgotten rules. (It's hard to hear the
capitalization on those old soundtracks.)
Just Say No to Censorship
Rick Otis, email@example.com
Ah yes, Mr. Holmes does remind us to avoid censorship as a response to
opinions we loathe. I would add, however, protecting freedom of speech does
not preclude any of us from stating what we think of odious opinions and those who express
them. Oh that those who express vile, hateful, and deleterious speech were aware of what
the rest of us do to protect the rule of law and their right to so speak. We are often the
very same ones they so stridently attack.
Tenley-Friendship Library Book Sale
Martha Saccocio, MarthaNS2@aol.com
The Friends of the Tenley-Friendship Library will hold its semi-annual
book sale this Saturday, October 14, from 12-4 pm. The Library is located at the
intersection of Wisconsin and Albemarle Streets, NW, right across the street from the
Tenleytown-AU Metro stop.
The Friends of Cleveland Park Library will hold their Fall Book Sale on
Saturday and Sunday, October 21 and 22, at the Cleveland Park Library, Connecticut Avenue
and Macomb Street. The hours are noon to 4 p.m. each day. We have thousands of
previously owned books, in many categories, donated by our neighbors. They
range from recent bestsellers to out-of-print treasures. For most books, the prices are $1
for hardcovers, $.50 for paperbacks. Sale proceeds go to benefit our branch library.
DCPL Programs, Week of 10/23
Patricia Pasqual, firstname.lastname@example.org
Special screening and discussion of the documentary The American
Tapestry by the award winning writer-director, Gregory Nava. The film is a
documentary that looks at the immigrant experience in America. The films producer,
Barbara Martinez-Jitner, will speak at each of the screenings. At these community
screenings, the audience will the film and discuss their reactions to it. The D.C. Public
Library will be providing a bibliography on the topic to distribute at these events. The
two-hour screenings and discussions will take place at Monday, October 16, at Cleveland
Park Library, Connecticut Avenue and Macomb Street, NW, 1:30 p.m.; Martin Luther King
Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, 6:30 p.m.; on Tuesday, October 17, at Martin Luther
King Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, 10:00 a.m.; Mt. Pleasant Library, 16th &
Lamont Streets, NW, 1:00 pm. This activity is a partnership of the D.C. Public Library, El
Norte Productions, and the National Museum of American History's Encuentros Program.
On Tuesday, October 17, at 6:30 p.m., James Loewen will talk about his
book, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong. On Saturday,
October 21, at 1:00 p.m., Allen Ballard will discuss his civil war novel, Where I'm
Bound. Both author talks are at the MLK Library.
GALA Opens Season at Warehouse Theater!
Cynthia Benjamin, email@example.com
Come see me in a terrific, rarely seen play by the Spanish great Federico
Garcia Lorca! Once Five Years Pass (Asi Que Pasen Cinco Anos)
presents an enchanting voyage through time in search of love. The performance glitters
with images of song, dance, flamenco, masks, puppetry and Commedia dell'Arte! All ages
will love it! October 19-November 26, Thursday/Friday, 8 pm; Saturday, 7:30 pm; Sunday,
4:00 pm. GALA at the Warehouse Theater, 1021 7th Street, NW (corner of 7th and New York
Avenue). For reservations, call 234-7174. (In Spanish with simultaneous English
interpretation). Hope you can make it!
We are desperate to find a place to rent or buy. We sold our house on
Capitol Hill and must be out by end of December. We need two bedrooms at least, within
walking distance of Metro, and don't want to pay more than $2,000 for rent, or $300,000 to
buy. Would be interested in learning of any possibilities that may have not yet been
advertised, on Capitol Hill, or elsewhere in DC, or close-in suburb. We are an extremely
reasonable and reliable man and wife with 6-year-old Irish Setter. Call 544-7272 home;
994-4390 work; or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can anyone recommend a licensed tree pruner who serves upper NW D.C.? I
have a very large, old tree that is in need of significant pruning, preferably before
winter sets in. Ideally, I'd like to find someone who can do weekend work, but that is not
CLASSIFIEDS CITY PAPER PREVIEW
Dave Nuttycombe, email@example.com
From washingtoncitypaper.com's LOOSE LIPS column, appearing this Friday:
STAGE FRIGHT: Bad things tend to happen to Mayor Anthony A. Williams when he shows up in
Columbia Heights. Some days, he gets heckled by irate crowds for botching development
deals on 14th Street NW. Other times, locals harangue him for not doing enough to protect
low-income tenants in dilapidated apartment complexes.
The earnest Williams has generally taken a direct approach to neighborhood complaints:
Just stand before the crowds, take the heat, and fire back a little. Last week, though, he
tried a new strategy: Throw money at them.
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:
SATURDAY: Peirce Mill Open House, from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Peirce Mill, Beach Drive and
Tilden Street NW, Rock Creek Park. Free.
WEDNESDAY: Ronnie Mervis will conduct a diamond-education evening at 6:30 p.m.
at Mervis Diamond Importers, 1900 Mervis Way, Tysons Corner. Free.
More details and more critics' picks are available online at http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/pix/pix.html
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