Here at themail, we frequently scoop the news outlets because we live
where the news happens, and we know better than anyone what's happening in our own
neighborhoods. But today I want to beak a little news about what's happening at 1
Anyone who has dealt with the Office of the Corporation Counsel, the city
government's law office, knows that it has serious problems of management, competency, and
professional conduct. Now, the Appleseed Center has released a new report about the OCC
that though it is restrained by the professional courtesy that makes lawyers
reluctant to speak honestly of each others' shortcomings is essentially scathing.
The release of the Appleseed report has led the OCC to release both its own internal
survey and an external report done for it by a legal consulting firm. Surprise the
internal OCC survey is, if anything, even more damning and outspoken than the Appleseed
While all three reports agree on one thing lawyers are seriously
underpaid and shouldn't be asked to scrape by on mere middle-class salaries the
more serious problems of accountability and mismanagement shine through. Read about it
tomorrow in the newspapers, or read the reports themselves today at http://www.dcwatch.com/govern/occdefault.htm.
Somehow I got this E-mail during my stint in Cairo Egypt. And though I
live in the burbs now, I've considered Washington my home for over 30 years. I was born
and raised in one of those industrial cities you mentioned, Pittsburgh. But the moment I
set foot in Washington, 1970, I knew I had found my home. For one, I was thrilled by the
constant stream of new ideas. One of my first and strongest memories of Washington as a
student was walking the streets of Georgetown and hearing people pass by discussing
economic theory, social theory, the problem with.... stuff and offering
sometimes old and sometimes radically new ideas of how to solve the city's and the
nation's problems. Some, even, in different languages.
For another, the way I got to know Washington was to walk it. Over one of
my first weekends, I set off with a map and walked from AU to the National Cathedral, down
Georgia past Howard, back along Florida Avenue to 14th, down to the monuments and Mall,
then up Connecticut, crossing to Mass and back to AU. Took about 8 hours. Took another
weekend to do Adams Morgan and Georgetown. Yes, flying in to Washington, I pray for the
Potomac River approach over Georgetown. It always set me smiling. But I know I'm home when
I walk the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Since graduation in 1974, I've lived in Washington, Virginia, and
Maryland, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Beirut, San Salvador, New York. And while each brought a
promotion or new assignment, I always pushed to come home -- to Washington. My last
assignment was New York, and after three years of the constant negativism and concrete
gray, I called it quits. I packed my apartment, and headed south until I could park the
car down near Georgetown. And then I walked, and watched, and listened: To green trees,
and people NOT looking over their shoulders, hearing new discussions and arguments over
problems and ways to solve them -- in my city, Washington, DC.
Steph Remembers the temporary buildings on the mall Faul, email@example.com
I find it interesting that people who have been here for less than a year
are commenting on DC's cultural identity.¨ While newcomers often do have better
perceptions of the current state of affairs than locals whose memories go farther back, I
doubt that they have any deep understanding of what it means to have grown up in
Memories include: Segregated want ads in the Washington Post:
Help Wanted, White Men. Help Wanted, Black Men. etc. I remember wishing I were
black because the jobs under "Black Women" looked much more interesting than
"clerk," which is what most of the white women's jobs seemed to be. When Kennedy
was shot we went down and stood around in front of the White House in the rain, wondering
what to do next. There WAS nothing to do, so to fill the time my mother took us to the
Avalon theater, where we saw The Mouse that Roared with Peter Sellers. I
noticed that the adults weren't laughing all that much. On summer evenings we would go
down to the Watergate, the REAL Watergate which is the steps near the Lincoln Memorial.
Rock Creek Parkway was closed off and military bands would play in a band shell anchored
in the Potomac. We always sat on the steps; there were chairs for people who always seemed
more important than we were. When I was 15 there was an election, the first I'd ever seen
of any kind anywhere. (We'd lived overseas for a year in 1960.) I wasn't sure what the
whole point was, but I did know that Johnson was good and Goldwater was bad and I had a
boyfriend who wanted to work on the campaign. So I went to a Johnson campaign office down
on K Street and helped run a Qwip machine (the precursor to the fax) and a teletype that
used punched paper tape. As a reward I was invited to the White House and shook hands with
Lady Bird Johnson -- the first time I'd ever been in the White House. Then in high school
when we wanted to go someplace and hang out and smoke cigarettes and practice dance steps,
we would go to the Jefferson Memorial, because it's open all night and has a nice view and
there's plenty of parking at 11 p.m. We stood and looked sulkily at the Tidal Basin and
complained that there was nothing to do in this stupid town. Last one: about six years ago
I was in the silver market in Vientiane, Laos, shopping with a friend for a silver belt.
One of the stalls had a television going to amuse the owner's young son, and it was
showing a Thai program about popular music. Suddenly there was a picture of Sonny Bono and
the U.S. Capitol and I got an overwhelming flash of homesickness, tinged with pride that
no matter where I went in the world I could always see a picture of my home town.
There's more of course, but I'd say being a native here means we share
several rather unconventional attitudes: first, we're just not that interested in national
politics except as it affects our city. Second, we feel a sense of ownership about the
monuments and public buildings that other Americans cannot know. Yeah, in theory they're
yours, sure, but they're in OUR town. Third, black and white, we have more in common with
each other than we do with the carpetbaggers who come in and try to pretend they're
locals. When natives ask Where did you go to school? we mean high school,
because that's the school that counts. You can go to college anywhere. But if you went to
Hine or Sidwell or School Without Walls, that puts you into a framework we can understand.
And to all of you who say, Well, I've lived here 20 years, so I FEEL
like a native, I say: In your dreams.
Growing Up in Washington
James E. Taylor, Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org
I remember growing up in this city (Anacostia), proudly stating when
asked, I am from the nation's capital. The city was racially divided, which
made it culturally divided. I don't remember any incidents of mean spiritedness about
being black, but I knew that there were certain no-no's, such as sitting down in
Woolworths to eat, no going to the White Tower hamburger stand, the upper balcony in
theaters, when they weren't full to capacity. No Glen Echo Park visits, and up until a
mini race riot, no swimming pools east of the river until Fairlawn was opened with blacks
buying ax handles from the Miller's Hardware located at Martin Luther King, Jr. (formally
Nichols Avenue) Avenue and Sheridan Road. What I remember most was that Congress used to
treat this city as a model for visitors because we had everything, including recreational
facilities, black-owned cleaners/shoe shop, fuel/coal store, DGS stores, and several
Jewish-owned stores who were then closely associated with black communities. We had a
theater, Chinese laundry, Japanese plant house, sit-down restaurants, Galloway's Liquors,
and even a place where the community elders got together on a regular basis to see who
could tell the biggest lie about fishing while eating oysters, and bragging about their
manhood as a result. Police walked the beat. The entire community knew each policeman and
the policeman knew the people, including who sold whiskey on the side and the numbers
houses where you could place a bet. The joke among the youngsters in the community was
seeing the police walk down Howard Road and back and often with a swagger, as the result
of stopping at the illegal alcohol places. We knew, however, that we didn't violate laws
no matter which direction they were coming from. We as youngsters were reminded daily in
school that we were the nation's third cleanest city and we took pride in this. I think
the cultural identity of this city is still in transition for people who have moved here
in the past twenty years, or so. I say that home is often your heart is. The price of
freedom has cost, and deprived this city of any cultural identity because few people know
the rich and proud history of its past, and most elected officials don't have a clue how
to move it forward with this in mind.
Like many DC-area residents, I grew up as a DOD Brat, moving from school
to school in Okinawa, California, New Jersey, Missouri, etc. Most of my US history classes
consisted of reading about stuff that might as well have happened a long time ago in a
galaxy far, far away. Kids who grow up in the DC area study US history that actually
happened in their neighborhoods. Makes it more alive and real, IMO.
In 1998 when the relocation of a strip bar on the 1700 block of H Street,
NW, caused a challenge to the moratorium on nude bars, Council member Sharon Ambrose said,
I'm never going to vote for it, because I do not want to encourage any more licenses
of that sort. If we keep excusing people and allowing people to move then we're defeating
the purposes of the moratorium. However, regarding the current effort to revoke the
moratorium, Ambrose said, I'm not prepared to set myself up as the arbiter of taste,
and I'm certainly not the arbiter of morals, Apparently, the difference is that she
was opposed to heterosexual strip bars, but not to homosexual ones. Ambrose asked a member
of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance to be on the task force that worked on the bill,
and members of the alliance lobbied heavily for the bill.
Both homosexual and heterosexual nude bars are undesirable, and the
lifting of the moratorium on liquor licenses for nude bars should be defeated. The
moratorium needs to be kept in place.
Is There Really a William Reed?
Steph fictitious character herself Faul, email@example.com
On the back page of today's D.C. section (December 7) appears a full-page
ad signed by "William Reed, President, Business Exchange Network." It might
interest y'all to know that a Nexis search for "William Reed" and "Business
Exchange Network" for all news sources and all the years in the database produced
only four stories -- all but one of which involved the tower controversy. (The outlier was
from 1993.) Want to guess who paid for the Post ad? But y'll knew that.
E. James Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
I sent the following memo today to Customer Relations, Hecht's. Re:
Print Advertising. I am canceling my Hecht's credit card and urge others to do the same to
protest the large amount of print advertising by your store. As I bundle the papers each
week for recycling I think of the number of pages that you buy, and the cost in trees. The
extensive mailings I receive add to this, and at least I can decrease that part by signing
off. Let me know if you have any plans to decrease this kind of advertising. Why not try
fewer/smaller ads and lower prices with the money saved?
When an upcoming business tries to get as many new customers as possible
to get their business off the ground, sometimes service suffers. I ordered StarPower
because it sounded better than what is currently available, and I ordered it a month ahead
of my move to D.C., just to make sure that I would have cable the day I moved in.
But it was not to be. Four days after my move in and endless calls to
StarPower to schedule technicians (one of whom lied to StarPower and said that there was
nobody home; I was here all day and the front desk assured me that nobody from StarPower
had come), I canceled. It seems to me that StarPower should at least make sure that
technicians (who they subcontract from Erols) are honest and on time.
November Marks a Key Shift in DCs Economic
Len Sullivan, email@example.com
DC's good news in November was all about economic development, marking the
beginning of a significant shift towards Anacostia and the metro area's Southeast
Quadrant. The bad news was all about the glacial pace of improving DC's quality of life.
In between was some disappointing evidence of superficial long-range planning and local
legislative expedience. Is DC shooting for excellence, or just plain mediocrity? These
topics and others are developed in the December update of the NARPAC web site at
http://www.narpac.org. Even if you don't want to read it all, please come by and give us
some feedback to celebrate the completion of our third full year on the web.
Last Ditch Effort to Save DC General
Sharon Roach, firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a lot of rallies going on through out the city to save our only
public hospital from closing. The purpose of each of these events is to get the attention
of the Mayor who has ignored all attempts of the citizens to voice their concern to him.
This blatant disregard of the citizens demands is a mockery of our civil rights. As a last
ditch effort a massive protest has been scheduled for December 15. This protest will be
different from the other protests. We need the support of all community organizations and
concerned citizens to let the Mayor know that we demand to be heard and we want our
hospital open. For more information, instructions, and the opportunity to sign up to speak
on this event, please call Sister Sharon at 986-9605.
Invitation to CHIME Benefit
Dorothy Marschak, email@example.com
CHIME (Community Help In Music Education) invites you to tryst and sing,
Monday, December 18, from 6-9 PM, Tryst Coffee House, 2459 18th Street. Entertainment
provided by CHIME volunteers and students; songs by CHIME's singing classes at Marie Reed
taught by Jack Upper, former Director, World Bank-IMF Chorus; community sing led by
volunteer Cynthia Lin, who teaches free CHIME Saturday piano and voice class; instrumental
entertainment by CHIME LIGHTS jazz trio, Marie Reed music teacher Alan Clipper and
friends. Come enjoy and make a donation to keep CHIME ringing.
CHIME is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) that mobilizes community resources to
promote and provide access to music education for all DC public schoolchildren inside and
outside school. For more information, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.erols.com/chime-dc.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
The Latin American Youth Center, AmeriCorps Program is looking for five
young men and women who are willing to serve their community. AmeriCorps member benefits:
skills for the future (leadership, teamwork, and more); a $4,725 education award at
completion of 1700 hours of service-for college, graduate or vocational school, or to pay
off education loans; deferment of educational debts during service; a stipend for living
expenses. For more information, please call the office at 319-8641 or come in for program
overview. or visit the LAYC web page at http://www.layc-dc.org.
PJ Harvey at the Black Cat: Tickets?
Jason Ziedenberg, email@example.com
Love to get tickets to PJ Harvey on Tuesday night, if you are looking to
unload them. I'll take one or two. Contact Jason 737-7270, ext. 232.
CLASSIFIEDS FOR SALE
Ping Pong Table
Philip J. Greene, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ping Pong table by Harvard (originally sold by Sears). It has playback
option ability and it is on wheels and can fold in half for easy storage. Top quality and
in excellent condition. Net and paddles included. Originally sold for 250.00. Asking
175.00 or best offer. We can store it until Christmas. email@example.com or 703-319-9262,
ask for Debbie.
Some time back, I remember seeing, and I believe it was in these
distinguished pages, information about a small company in the DC area that handled
assembly problems, i. e., the assembly of items such as disassembled exercise machines,
I need some help in this field now, and would much appreciate any
recommendation fellow readers may have.
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