You and I Arent the Weakest Link
Dear Strong Links:
Please allow me to be the first to announce that you are the weakest link,
the game show catch phrase about to be imported into the United States, is already tired,
passé, and overused, and should be dropped from everyday conversation. Can we strangle
this cruel phrase as it lies in its crib, before it leaves the nursery and escapes into
adult company? Of course, renouncing the use of the phrase does create some problems. For
example, deprived of you are the weakest link, what would Tony Williams have
left to say to members of his staff and cabinet?
I would like to bring the West Nile Virus and the mosquito population to the attention
of the DC government. We had a terrible mosquito season last year. They were everywhere
and most of us who ventured outside for even a moment donated a pint of blood each time.
Virginia is taking preemptive action to fight the mosquito population and track West Nile
virus. This is the time to do something preventative; in another several weeks it will be
too late. I would like to know: 1) what is our city government doing about it? If the
government isn't doing much, we must urge them to give immediate attention to this health
At a minimum they should fund a public education campaign to educate residents on what
to do to keep the mosquito population down around their home and neighborhood. Better,
they should also be looking at proactively eliminating potential mosquito breeding areas
that are on public city property. West Nile is serious and I think we and the city ought
to give it some attention.
Hint You SHOULD Refuse
Jean Lawrence, JKeLLaw@aol.com
Ted Gest writes: Should D.C. residents be tipping those who pick up recyclables?
One crew member approached us in an alley this week and noted that we hadn't given a
holiday gratuity despite the great service (which isn't particularly great anyway).
This is so deliciously tacky, I can't stand it. Isn't it almost like extortion pay
or you will be wearing dis stuff? The nerve! You should report it.
I do tip the garbage collectors, the recycling collectors, the mail delivery person,
the newspaper delivery person, the UPS delivery guy at Christmas. The regulars, anyway,
when I know who they are. $5.00 each for garbage and recycling guy (cash). This means
trying really really hard to get up extra early one cold winter morning. $10.00 check to
newspaper guy, $10-ish to UPS (depending), and $20.00 to our mail carrier and sometimes a
half-Christmas (June 25) $10.00 (cash). I've never been asked for a tip, it
always does seem to be appreciated, and in fact affirmed by the quality of subsequent
friendliness and attentiveness.
Tipping the Scales
Taylor Simmons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding Mr. Gest's post about tipping the recycling crew, I confess that I tipped the
contracted recycling crew last Christmas, but wondered the same thing. Somehow, I think we
are reasoning, if they actually work for the city, they must be in worse shape and must
need it more.
I actually wanted to tip the regular trash pickup crew in order to hopefully reverse
the decline in service quality, but they came early on the day I chose to deal with this,
and I missed them. Recyclers came later, so they lucked out. In either case, you have to
catch them live and hand the gift to the driver (with your address on the envelope.)
Almost two weeks after The Washington Post carried an article headlined
No Vote, No Taxes, D.C. Says, Steve Leraris is to be congratulated for being
the first to mention this important piece of legislation in themail. Frankly, I am
stunned, as Mr. Leraris most likely is, that no one has mentioned this news prior to last
Thursday. This legislation, sponsored by Sen. Lieberman and our nonvoting Del. Norton,
would relieve DC residents of their federal tax burden. According to The Post
article, DC residents pay more federal taxes per capita, $4,849, than any state in the
Union except Connecticut. Just to rub some salt in the wounds, that's exactly $4,849 more
per capita than residents of Puerto Rico pay. And what makes DC any different than Puerto
Rico? Puerto Rico is not a state; DC is not a state. Puerto Rico has no congressional
voting representation; DC doesn't either. Puerto Rico citizens pay no federal income
taxes; DC residents pay more than any other state but one!
From the underwhelming response to the announcement of this legislation (S. 603 and
H.R. 1193; see Mr. Leraris's posting of 4-5-01 for links to the text) one would think that
everyone in DC loves getting shafted and paying their unfair share of taxes at the same
time. Members of Congress sit in their lovely high-ceiling offices, acting as omnipotent
czars decreeing that DC residents can be denied basic voting rights and still treat DC
citizens worse than if they lived in a territory. Where is the outrage here? Hell, where's
some basic discussion? Or do we need an environmental impact study before the dialogue can
commence? This is a basic right and wrong situation that the license plate slogan
addresses but this legislation opens for correction. Either we join Mr. Leraris in
spreading the word far and wide about this legislation and urge support for it, or we
happily file our federal tax returns on April 16 and complacently repeat that process
every year until we expire. I refuse to believe that whether someone pays $500 or $50,000
in federal taxes, they have no better use for that money than Uncle Sam. What do you
RE: Your Money or Your Vote from Steve Leraris
George S. LaRoche, email@example.com
House Bill 1193 and its identical twin in the Senate, S. 603, would not give D.C.
residents full voting representation. They would exempt D.C. residents from paying federal
income taxes until such time as they are represented in the House and Senate by
representatives who have the same voting rights as representatives "who represent
states." Of course, this may be taken as a lever to move Congress to take action
which could lead to such representation, but the bills themselves do not provide such
As for what action Congress might take which would lead to the sort of representation
referenced in these bills, it seems well-settled among most scholars and in two different
cases brought in federal court, Michel v. Anderson (filed in 1993 and concluded in 1994)
and Alexander v. Daley (filed in 1998 and concluded in 2000) that Congress cannot confer
the full scope of voting rights enjoyed by representative who are elected by the citizens
of the various States by any means short of either admitting the District as a state or
ceding the District to a State (Maryland).
But in the mean time, there's no reason based on constitutional law that the people of
the District cannot or should not be exempted from paying taxes to a government in which
they are not represented (though there are political and sociological ramifications of
this measure which are worth discussing, I leave it to those better able to address those
ramifications to do so).
What I Meant with Regard to Probation, Etc.
Richard Layman, Northeast DC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sid Booth, I'm sorry I didn't give an accurate citation. Here it is: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/cr_7.htm.
From the introduction: Violent crime rates have fallen nationally by 26 percent
since 1993. Some of this drop is undoubtedly due to so-called 'broken windows law
enforcement' and community policing. In Boston and other places, probation departments
have also helped cut crime, both on their own and in partnerships with police, community
groups and clergy.
If the criminal justice system is going to keep violent crime on the run, however, it
will need to do even more, beginning with a much better job of supervising the three
million probationers in our midst. For people who want to read about the broken windows
theory of problem-oriented policing, I'd recommend: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/crime/windows.htm
(this is the original article), and http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/crime/safehood.htm
(this is a follow-up article called Making Neighborhoods Safe).
Actually, there are programs in motion in the District to link probation officers with
MPD officers on patrol. Such a pilot program is supposed to begin later this spring in my
part of the First District.
Can anyone tell me why Dr. Omer quit his job at Mayor Williams' Chief of Staff
and what is likely to happen next?
Handicapping the Race for Chief of Staff
Dorothy Brizill, email@example.com
This Friday, April 13, will be Dr. Abdusalam Omer's last day as Chief of Staff to Mayor
Williams. While the Mayor has interviewed a number of individuals over the past few weeks,
it is widely believed that any replacement must improve the rocky, dysfunctional inner
workings of the Executive Office of the Mayor; improve relationships with alienated
citizen groups; and avoid the political, policy, and ethical missteps that have plagued
the administration for the past two-and-a-half years. Moreover, the successful candidate
will need the blessing of the Mayor's wife, Diane Williams, who serves as his chief
political adviser. For the handicappers wanting to place their bets, the racetrack touts
are talking up three leading candidates: Tony Bullock, Kumiki Gibson, and Bernard Demczuk.
Bullock, as I wrote to themail last week, was chief of staff to Senator Daniel Moynihan
after holding local offices in East Hampton, New York. He is already in the Mayor's
office, with the vague title of Director of Special Projects, and attending senior staff
meetings. Kumiki Gibson is a partner at Williams and Connolly, where she represents
corporations against discrimination and labor union suits. Previously, she served as
Counsel to Vice President Al Gore. She was appointed to the Convention Center Authority
Board by Mayor Williams in 1999. Her resume is at http://www.dcwatch.com/archives/council13/13-648.htm.
The shortest odds are being offered on Bernard Demczuk. Demczuk is the long-time Barry
crony and Barry administration insider who now works at George Washington University in
government relations. Hiring Demczuk would represent Williams's capitulation to the Barry
team, and Demczuk has offended Foggy Bottom residents by advocating GWU's incursions
against the residential community. But he has been an active member of Williams's kitchen
cabinet and fundraising efforts for the past several months, and has actively campaigned
for the job for months. A Loose Lips column from last September named him as the rumored
successor to Omer see http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/archives/lips/2000/lips0922.html.
The Washington Post seems to have stopped writing about the fate of this
important neighborhood theater. What's the state of play?
E. James Lieberman, firstname.lastname@example.org
I see that University Painters is scattering its ads around upper NW. At first I
thought it was just on the property of a house being painted. Then I realize they are
choosing high-traffic corners like Utah and Nebraska. I phoned them to protest and was
routed to the head guy's voice mail, and left a message of protest.
How long did Congress argue over the location of the PSOG and what was the bargain that
settled the issue? How about the concept of 'exclusive jurisdiction"? How did DC
finally get its name, and who had the most to gain financially by its final location --
not where Congress wanted it? What are the real issues nowadays behind the future of DC
General Hospital, and how does the winning bidder plan to address them? What's the
difference between DCWatch and DC-WACH? Will Bush honor Clinton's executive order on the
FIATFDC? Anybody really need an empty power plant encased in flats? These and other
intriguing issues enliven the April update of the NARPAC web site at http://www.narpac.org. Feedback almost always welcome.
Last year, actor Rick Foucheux won the Helen Hayes award for his unforgettable
performance at the Source Theater in David Mamet's Edmond. Last month,
Foucheux received another Helen Hayes nomination as lead actor in Eugene O'Neill's
Hughie, also at the Source. This month Foucheux headlines yet another Mamet at
the Source, American Buffalo. In Mamet's sardonic comedy, three inept crooks
scheme to steal a coin collection; their angry words almost casually build to physical
violence. On Sunday, April 22, at 3 p.m., Footlights DC's only modern drama
discussion group will attend American Buffalo at the Source Theater,
1835 14th St., NW. Discount tickets are $18 and include a post-show discussion. Mail your
check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Court, Rockville, MD 20852. Call 301-897-9314, E-mail email@example.com, or visit www.footlightsdc.org for more information.
TasteDC.com's April/May 2001 Calendar of Wine and Food Events
Charlie Adler, firstname.lastname@example.org
1) April 10, Tuesday, Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P St.,
NW. Valet parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. wine
tasting, $40 per person. Our most attended event! Part of our Fundamentals of Wine
Series (all classes in the series can be taken individually). Learn how to order
wine in a restaurant, determine basic wine styles and varietals, pair wine and food and
more! 2) April 12, Thursday, Wine and Food Pairing, canceled. 3) April 17,
Tuesday, A Taste of Brazil at the Brazilian-American Cultural Institute, 4103
Connecticut Avenue, NW, closest Metro is Van Ness (Red Line) 1 block away, Giant Market on
Connecticut has paid parking, 7-9:30 PM, $55 per person. Join us for a celebration of
Brazil's wonderful food, drink, and culture! We'll be tasting Brazil's famous national
stew feijoada, a variety of other Latin dishes, caipirinhas made with cachaca
(liquor made from sugar cane), native beers and International wines, and traditional
Brazilian desserts. We are planning to have live music as well, more details soon. 4)
April 26, Thursday, Introduction to French Wines, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121
P St., NW, 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. wine tasting, $40 per person. France
produces some of the greatest wines in the world but their labeling, varietals and subtle
differences can be very confusing to new wine drinkers. Let Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian
Magazine, help you taste and learn about such regions as Bordeaux, Burgundy, the
Loire and other viticultural regions. We'll taste nine wines that showcase France's
regional nuances. 5) April 27, Friday, Taste of Romania at the Embassy of
Romania, 1607 23rd St., NW, on Sheridan Circle, closest Metro is Dupont Circle (Red
Line), 7-9:30 p.m., $55 per person. Enjoy an evening of food and wine at the Embassy of
Romania! Sample from a buffet consisting of traditional Romanian foods such as mamaliga
(corn porridge), sarmale (cabbage rolls), ciorba (spicy and sour soup) and desserts as
well as imported Romanian wines. An embassy official will give a brief introduction on
Romanian culture and food. There will also be Romanian folk music. 6) May 1, Tuesday,
Oregon Wine and Food Experience, Capitol Hill Club, 300 1st Street, S.E., free
parking across the street, Capitol South Metro Station (Blue/Orange Line) across the
street, 7-9:00 p.m., $45 per person. What is the Oregon Wine and Food
Experience? Over 40 Oregon wineries pouring over 150 wines including world-class
Pinot Noirs and highly rated Chardonnays, Rieslings, Pinot Blancs, Gewurztraminers,
Cabernet Sauvignons, Pinot Gris and Muller-Thurgaus. Did we mention seafood? Savor the
bounty of Oregon with tastings of wild salmon, Dungeness crab, sole, shrimp, fresh pears
and hazelnuts all prepared by chefs Greg Higgins, Higgins Restaurant, Portland, Oregon,
and Jack Czarnecki, Joel Palmer House, Willamette Valley. This is a walk-around reception
style event. 7) May 9, Wednesday, Wine and Gourmet Cheese Tasting at the Embassy of
Switzerland, Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Ave., NW, limited street parking
available, nearest Metro, Woodley Park, Red Line, 7-9:00 p.m., $55 per person. The Swiss
have the highest standards in the world when it comes to cheese production. They also
produce fantastic wines that perfectly complement their cheeses. Join us at the Embassy of
Switzerland and we'll taste Vignerons, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, Gruyere, and other cheeses
imported from Switzerland plus other Swiss specialty foods. Wine as well as imported beers
will also be served. Attire is business casual. This is a walk-around tasting and
reception. 8) May 10, Thursday, California vs. France Wine Tasting Showdown,
Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P St., NW, valet parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line),
7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. wine tasting, $55 per person. Who says that France
makes better wine than California does? Join Ann Berta, Washingtonian Magazine
wine columnist, as we compare and taste some of the world's finest wines. Just to make
this event even more interesting (and objective) all bottles will be covered. These
double-blind tastings are always fun and showcase what's really important in a wine: great
flavor and aroma. 9) May 15, Tuesday, "Wine Basics 101," Radisson Barcelo Hotel,
7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. wine tasting, $40 per person. Our most attended event!
Part of our Fundamentals of Wine Series. Learn how to order wine in a
restaurant, determine basic wine styles and varietals, pair wine and food and more! 10)
May 24th, Thursday, Introduction to Italian Wines, Radisson Barcelo Hotel,
7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. wine tasting, $40 per person. Americans love Italy's
dietary trinity of bread, olive oil and wine, but understanding their vino can be very
confusing. Join Ann Berta, wine columnist of Washingtonian Magazine, as we taste a variety
of regional wines that will enhance your understanding and your taste buds as well! Nine
wines will be tasted at this event. Reservations: http://www.tastedc.com
or call 333-5588.
CLASSIFIEDS HELP WANTED
Data entry personnel needed to populate a database of record albums. Applicants must
have a combination of speed and accuracy in their work performance. Hours: Monday, April
9th - Friday, April 13th, 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. each day. Each entry would contain the
following information: Artist/Group, Title(s), Genre, Cover Condition, Record Condition,
Date, Quantity. Payment is negotiable. Contact Vernard R. Gray, 347-6330 anytime.
Summer Housing Needed
Joan Eisenstodt, email@example.com
My niece, a journalism student at Ohio University, has a good friend who will intern in
DC this summer. I said I'd post this to help him. If you have or know of something
available (Metro accessible), please E-mail him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org (Andrew Sucher).
My name is Andrew Sucher, and I attend Ohio U. with your niece Lauren; I'll be in
Washington from June 11 until mid-August, probably around the 17th. I am looking for
housing that is close to a Metro station and somewhat affordable, since I'm a poor college
student. I'm actually looking to pay in the 400 to 700 dollar range, or something under a
$800. dollars. Although, I know this is somewhat unrealistic because of housing prices in
Washington I just thought it was worth a try.
Paris Penthouse Apartment for July-August Rental
Virginia Topaloff, email@example.com
Paris penthouse apartment for rent, four bedrooms, two baths, terrace, great views of
the Eiffel Tower (15th arrondissement, near Motte-Piquet Grenelle). One double bed and
four singles. Fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, maid service included. $1500 weekly or
$2000 for 10 days. Available July and August.
The apartment is within walking distance of three Metro stops, a supermarket, many
bakeries, kids' clothing stores, a truly wonderful park/playground (Parc Andre Citroen)
and more. With views that even many of the best hotels don't have, this is an ideal
location. To see pictures and floor plan, visit http://www.isbell-art.com/flat.htm. To
contact the owner E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call
011 331 53 95 01 68.
I want to get some old photos scanned to JPEGs. Does anyone know of a cheap scanning
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and
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