themail.gif (3487 bytes)

November 21, 2001

Happy Holiday Season as Usual

Dear Holiday Revelers:

Life as usual is our motto here in the District. We shall not be cowed by terrorists; we shall not allow them to alter the courses of our lives. I intend to follow the example of the White House and Congress this holiday season. I'll start by blocking off my street to through traffic; as far as I can determine, I don't have to get permission from the city government or the MPD to do this. Maybe the National Capital Planning Commission will make me put up the barriers in the form of oversized concrete flowerpots, but that's the only problem I foresee. A line of yellow police tape should suffice to keep pedestrians off of the sidewalk in front of the house. Next, I'm going to institute a few minor changes in how guests to my house are greeted. Since I don't yet have the technology for biometric identification, I think that presentation of a photo ID will be sufficient this year. I don't expect the strip searches and cavity searches to make anyone too uncomfortable. In fact, on the model of airport passengers, I expect to get a lot of compliments on how safe and secure my visitors feel because of them. My only problem will be how to dispose of the nail clippers, penknives, cigar cutters, knitting needles, and bobby pins that I confiscate.

As you can see, I contemplate making only minimal changes to my usual routine. Carry on.

Gary Imhoff


Metro Not Escalating Upward
Ted Gest,

Re Annie McCormick's post in the last issue: Metro apparently chooses to treat all holidays as alike. They obviously aren't; many people, maybe half the work force, work on Veterans Day. Another Metro subject: has anyone else noticed an increase in escalators' being out of service? Several at Friendship Heights have been on and off for months. On Mon., November 19, at Dupont Circle, all three of the steep escalators on the south end were broken, forcing everyone to walk up a long flight of stairs or go far out of the way to Q Street. No warning while on the train; just small hand-lettered signs. This kind of thing seems to be happening more often.


Stop Red Light Cameras
James Treworgy,

According to, 750 people per year are killed in the United States as a result of running red lights. As a portion of the US's population, that puts DC's share at about 1.25 people per year. I'm sure a better fact finder that I can find out the true statistics for DC, but the point is, we have a lot bigger fish to fry here on the crime front. While I don't think that a problem should be ignored because it's a small problem, this is an invasive, expensive, and barely legal solution to a small problem. I also don't see how it actually solves anything, since the large number of tickets being issued tells me that people are still running red lights at these well-publicized camera locations.

Lockheed Martin expects to earn $44 million by 2004 on their red light contract, I expect largely from District residents. I bet you can think of something on which to spend $44 million that would improve people's lives more than red light cameras. Just a few of our hundreds of annual homicides prevented would be a better investment. Even if red light running is a problem worth spending huge amounts of money dealing with, it seems to me parking an old cruiser at each of these intersections would be a better solution. It would cost a lot less, and probably reduce other crime as well.


More on Infant Mortality
Nick Keenan, Shaw,

When our twin sons were born, they were born in Virginia. Since we have never had to register them with the DC government in any way, and they were born too late for the last census, I can't imagine that they were counted as DC births for the purposes of infant mortality statistics. If the mortality rate is calculated by taking the number of death certificates issued and dividing by the number of birth certificates issued, the rate is going to be overstated if a substantial number of babies who live in DC are born outside of the city.

How substantial is this? All I can offer is anecdotal evidence. The reason our babies were delivered in Virginia is that very few hospitals in the city have maternity wards, and our doctor would not deliver at any of them. From speaking with other parents who have given birth recently, it seems that this is not uncommon.


No Man’s Land
Ed T. Barron,

Here on Massachusetts Avenue north of American University, it's “No Man's Land” on the unofficial border that separates Spring Valley from AU Park. The DPW dutifully (and on schedule) have been sucking up the leaves raked into the street in both these communities. Left out of this suck up party, however, are all the homes on Mass. Ave. north of American University. When I called the DPW to ask why, despite the fact that we have an abundance of very large, very old trees, shedding leaves that number in the millions, I was told that I would have to submit a service request to get the leaves picked up. Alternatively, I could just bag the leaves and put them out by the curb for pick up with the normal trash removal.

Been there, done that. I regularly rake up the equivalent of more than 100 seventy-five gallon sized plastic bags of leaves each fall. I shred most of these to use as mulch and the shredding reduces the leaves to about the twenty seventy-five gallon plastic bags. The normal trash removal will take only five bags at a time. For those on Mass. Avenue who bag their leaves unshredded it would take twenty weeks to get 100 bags picked up along with the regular trash pickup. I submitted, via phone, a service request and will see if those leaves that I have raked to the sidewalk side of the curb are ever picked up. No one can tell me why the leaves are not sucked up on the Mass. Ave. cusp.

Once again, many folks are raking their leaves into the street. That, in defiance of the DPW bulletin that asked for leaves to be raked to the sidewalk side of the curb. In past years cars have driven over the piles of leaves and park there. That has resulted in car fires as the very hot catalytic converter ignites the dry leaves under the car.


Whose National Guard?
Nick Keenan, Shaw,

Over the past week or so there have been a couple of stories in the Post about "the" National Guard assisting with security at the Capitol. I found this curious, as there is no such thing as "the" National Guard, but rather there are fifty-four National Guards, one for each state, territory, and the District of Columbia. Which National Guard is being called to action? The Post never said, but a quick trip to told me that it is in fact the District of Columbia National Guard.

It seems to me that the most important fact in the story was left out. The men and women providing security to the Congress are not represented there. Yet they serve gladly. When the current crisis is past, will the Congress remember the sacrifice and service of the citizens of DC? If history is any guide, probably not.


Who Knows Where Our Police Officers Are?
John Fanning,

If we need more police officers, please hire them quickly. It's time for change in our neighborhood. It was great to hear that the police were visible in the Shaw neighborhood last Saturday afternoon, but where were they when a car jacking took place on my block (1600 block of Marion Street, NW), 11:45 p.m. Sunday night. The poor owner of the car (2000 Jaguar) had his scull cracked open with a brick by the two would-be car jackers, not to mention it took the ambulance forever to arrive on the scene. I stopped counting after twelve minutes. Maybe somebody can explain where the police were when three individuals were stabbed early Monday evening, 7th and R Streets, NW, Shaw-Howard Metro. Unfortunately, we needed them again early Tuesday night, at a shooting at 8th and R Streets, NW, yes near the Metro again. I keep hearing City Services are better or that they are getting better. Say what? As for Mr. Leroy Thorpe, to whom I was first introduced during the 1990 Special Election for Ward 2 City Council, many of you should still remember Leroy Thorpe was on a bull horn near an elementary school at a voting precinct in Shaw while class was in session shouting out over the bull horn don't vote for Jim Zais because he's a faggot and Ward 2 doesn't need any more faggots living in Ward 2 or representing us. Then there were the comments that he made to Councilmember David Catania about his sexuality at a city council public hearing on ANC issues and Leroy's many other comments made towards others through the years. I know Leroy Thorpe; I have had the privilege, sometimes not-so-privileged, to serve with Leroy Thorpe on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2C for two years, and, trust me, it was unbearable at times. Sadly to say folks, Mr. Thorpe is currently my ANC Commissioner. So I can contest that I have had a real good taste of Mr. Thorpe's verbal behavior for many years myself. His most recent public comments regarding the attack on America are just another testament that Mr. Thorpe has a problem. I am sorry, but our neighborhood deserves better representation, not someone like Mr. Thorpe, who is going to continue to verbally assault individuals because of who or what they are. I know that my neighbors are smart enough not to embrace this type of verbal behavior anymore from Mr. Thorpe. We have an election next year, and I am truly hopeful that Mr. Thorpe will not be reelected our ANC Commissioner, because this time my neighbors and I will decide his political fate and on election day cast a vote for new leadership.


Parking Meter Peril
Dan (not a happy) Parker,

A few years ago I groused about how so many parking meters had been beheaded, putting into question the safety of parking in such locations, no matter how central to town and well traveled. The city responded (not due to me) with a fancy contract and new meters all around — superior meters that take all sorts of silver change — Happy days!

My work has me constantly on the road. I try to park legally. I carry lots of change and I always pay my parking tickets. I rely on parking meters. Of late, however, I've been annoyed at the number of broken meters. I thought they were repaired under a contract with some big Lockheed-like company. At least twice a week I lose my money in a meter. I have the “broken meter” department on speed dial and have to listen to their long, long message before leaving my pertinent information. Are there any city officials who can do a little better out there? Oversight should be easy and we deserve better.


Parking Permit Information
Irina Livezeanu,

I wonder if anyone knows what must a student do to get a parking permit for Washington. I think students are exempt from necessarily getting DC plates. But how do they get the official permit for parking?


Are CDC’s About to Change?
Malcolm L. Wiseman, Jr.,

In follow-up to Richard Layman's post about the fed's funding efficacy with block grants to Community Development Corporations: one CDC, Peoples Involvement Corporation (see projects at, seems to be committed to my neighborhood and to much of the Georgia Avenue corridor in District of Columbia.

In addition to providing support to business and social communities in our neighborhoods, PIC rehabilitates old commercial properties from dilapidated hulks into new, usable space. Among their projects: new senior citizens' housing at the old Colony Theater, new Rittenhouse Street condominium apartments, and new 150+ bed convalescence facility opening soon. I hope funding agents make a fair appraisal of the output of our CDC's and continue to amply support those like PIC.

[Every CDC has ardent defenders, which is part of what has made reforming the system so difficult. Earlier this year, Milton Bailey, then Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, suspended PIC because of its failure to file required financial reports and to document its use of city funds. Bailey's attempt to enforce accountability led to enormous political pressure to oust him from DHCD. At a subsequent oversight hearing, Councilmember Adrian Fenty was highly critical of PIC's performance and neglect of the derelict properties it owns. — Gary Imhoff]


Eclectic Italian Restaurant
Ed T. Barron,

For those seeking good Italian food in an eclectic environment (trolls on the wall) and in a small neighborhood place, I suggest Listrani's on MacArthur Boulevard in the Palisades neighborhood. We have been eating there occasionally over the last fourteen years. The place changed hands about a year or more ago but seems to have retained the quality and moderate prices that prevailed before the turnover. Service was a bit slow the last time we were there.


Restaurant Week
David Sobelsohn,

During Restaurant Week, over one hundred DC restaurants offered “special prix fixe” lunches and dinners for $20.01 for lunch and $30.01 for dinner. Am I the only themail subscriber who finds this appalling? $30.01 for dinner (plus tax & tip = $37.50 or more) is a "special price"? These are obviously not restaurants for the typical DC-area resident. Are they restaurants for the typical themail subscriber? How many of us could afford to go to any of these restaurants more than once in a month, let alone seven nights in a row? Is there a list I can subscribe to for people with annual incomes under $100,000?


Cannibalism Is Most Definitely Not Vegetarianism
Mark Sutton,

However, if you do relish eating dead, tortured, and most likely diseased animals, it may be consistent with your own preferences. Didja know that some eighty percent of all chickens killed for your food have leukemia ( Yum!

Here's something else to think about when you're shoving stuffing where the sun don't shine on a turkey: “Each year at Thanksgiving, the US president and vice-president pardon a turkey and a vice turkey. This is a nice gesture, but after the turkeys are sent to a small farm, they die from heart attacks or lung collapse within months because their hearts and lungs can't support the bulk. Turkeys today grow so fast [hormones] that they find it impossible to mate naturally. They simply cannot get close enough to physically manage. As a result, all 300 million turkeys born annually in the US are the result of an act of artificial insemination.” (as quoted from the Washington Post by John Robbins, “The Food Revolution.”)

FYI, [I've been] eschewing meat, fowl, and fish for twenty years and damn proud of it. For some excellent information on vegetarianism, start with, where you can begin to understand that a plant-based diet is nowhere near as degrading to the environment, availability of general resources, and human health as a meat-based one is. Bon appetit!)



Oyster Bilingual Elementary School's Annual Bilingual Holiday Book Fair, December 3rd-8th
Nialle Condensa,

Don't miss this exciting Bilingual Book Fair coming to Oyster Elementary School (2801 Calvert Street, NW) just in time for the holiday season. This book fair features wonderful books in English and Spanish from over 100 publishers. Hours are Monday, December 3, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (December 4 through 7) from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, December 8, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call 671-3111. Ask for Laura Kleinmann.

###############’s Late November-January Calendar of Wine and Food Events
Charlie Adler, wine@TASTEDC.COM

1) November 27, Tuesday, “France vs. California vs. Australia Wine Tasting Showdown,” Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 2121 P Street, NW. Valet parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-7:30 p.m. reception; 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $60 per person. So who makes the best wine in the world, is it France, California, or Australia? In this event, you choose the winners! Join and Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian Magazine, as we taste 12 different wines in 4 tasting categories. You won't be able to cheat because all bottles will be covered and you vote for your favorites! We'll choose only wines that retail for less than $40/bottle and are readily available in the local market for purchase. 2) November 29, Thursday, “Embassy of the Republic of South Africa: Wine Tasting and Authentic Cuisine,” 3051 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. 7-9 p.m., $55 inclusive, limited street parking available next to the Italian Embassy on Whitehaven Street. Join us at the truly lovely Embassy of South Africa for this occasion! The wines of South Africa are the great value phenomenon of the decade. We'll taste over 20 select South African wines produced by 7 different wineries, all wines to be paired with authentic cuisine — sausages, samosas, and other native delicacies. Some of the wineries include McGregor, Porterville, Ruitersvlei Estate and Darling, more to come! All wines at this event will be available for order at a special discounted rates for your Holiday gifts. Please note: this event is walk-around/reception style (no seating). 3) December 5, Wednesday, “Wine Basics 101,” Radisson Barcelo Hotel. 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $40 per person. Washington, D.C.'s most popular wine tasting: over 3,000 people have attended this event in our 4 year history: learn how to order wine in a restaurant, determine basic wine styles and varietals, pair wine and food and more! 4) December 6, Thursday, “Embassy of Australia: Celebration of Australian Wine and Food,” Australian Embassy, 1601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, limited street parking available, nearest Metro Dupont Circle, Red Line, 6:30-8:30 p.m., $65 per person, inclusive. Taste incredible Australian Boutique wines imported by Country Vintners for The Australian Premium Wine Collection and Scott Street Portfolio and enjoy a wonderful assortment of authentic Australian cuisine including lamb, seafood and a wide array of cheeses. These are often hard-to-find wines, but we will not only let you taste them, but you will also be able to order them for holiday purchases at a special discount! More information on our menu soon. Please note: this event is walk-around/reception style (no seating). 5) December 12, Wednesday, “Best of the Best with Ann Berta,” Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7-7:30 p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $60 per person. Come celebrate the great wines of 2001 with Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian Magazine. Very little needs to be said here — 2001 had some excellent wines and we'll enjoy them together as the year winds down. This event is for beginners as well as knowledgeable wine aficionados; everyone should taste and savor the year's best! 6) December 13, Thursday, “Mimi's American Bistro Holiday Dinner,” Mimi's American Bistro, Residence Inn, 2120 P St., NW, WDC, Garage Parking, Metro Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7:00-9:30 p.m. Seated dinner (family-style), $55, tax and tip inclusive. Join us for a holiday family-style dinner with wine with an unusual twist — all of Mimi's wait staff will entertain us with cabaret-style renditions of Broadway hits and other amusements. This dinner will include many of Mimi's Mediterranean specialties and a variety of desserts. The wines come from many of's past events so expect everything from Austrian Gruner Veltliners to New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs! This is a seated event with lots of food, wines on the table, and great entertainment to boot. 7) January 14, Monday, “Joseph Drouhin 4-Course Wine Maker's Dinner at Olives Restaurant,” Olives Restaurant, 1600 K Street, NW, three blocks from Farragut North Metro Stop (Red Line), valet parking available, 7-9:30 p.m. seated dinner, $115, tax and tip inclusive. Join as we are privileged to have Laurent Drouhin, currently a Managing Director of the eponymous company, on his national tour of America as he showcases some of the top current releases from this venerable portfolio. Since 1880, Maison Joseph Drouhin has built a reputation for wines that reflect their individual terroir and vintage. This classic wine producer strives for wines of breed, finesse and elegance. The chef for this evening's meal is Olive's Executive Chef Steve Mannino who has received critical acclaim from Food and Wine Magazine (Best New Restaurant, 2000), Gourmet Magazine, FoodARts, Washingtonian and the Washington Post. The meal will consist of an hors d'oeuvres reception followed by a 4-course meal all paired with the wonderful wines of Joseph Drouhin. More information on the menu and wines soon! Please Note: This is a seated event. 8) January 15, Tuesday, “Cocktails 101 — Hot Drinks for Cold Nights,” Ozio Restaurant and Lounge, 1813 M St., NW. Metros: Farragut North or Dupont Circle (Red Line), 7-9 p.m., $40 per person. All new mixed drinks. This event always sells out! Join Ozio's experienced bartender who will mix, entertain and serve you samples of 10 mixed drinks for Winter weather! Light appetizers will also be served such as fried calamari, sesame chicken tenders, and baby eggplant pizza. You will also learn the basics of setting up your own home bar, secrets of the trade, and a whole lot more! Don't forget, each attendee gets a sample of all 10 drinks, it's included in the price of the event. Reservations, click on or phone 333-5588.



Mentors Needed
Patrick Pellerin,

You can become a mentor for motivated DC Public High School students. Help a high school student succeed. Strengthen our community. Make a difference in a young person's life. To volunteer contact Mentors, Inc., at 783-2310 or Be a mentor. Change two lives!


Eyeglass Donations
Matthew Kessler,

I have some eyeglasses which I no longer use. I would like to donate them. Does anyone know of any eyeglass recycling organizations in the area?


United Way (NCA) September 11th Funding
Dayne Walling,

September 11th Fund Greater Washington Area Application for 2nd Round Funding, United Way of the National Capital Area. The deadline is Monday, November 26th — no later than 5 p.m. In this second round of funding approximately $1 million in grants will be awarded to support the efforts of local nonprofit organizations to respond to the needs of victims and address the broader effects of the crisis. Nonprofit organizations (United Way Campaign Participation is not a requirement) are eligible. For further information and for application materials, go to Also contact United Way headquarters at 488-2125.


themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every Wednesday and Sunday. To subscribe, to change E-mail addresses, or to switch between HTML and plain text versions of themail, use the subscription form at To unsubscribe, send an E-mail message to with “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Archives of past messages are available at

All postings should also be submitted to, and should be about life, government, or politics in the District of Columbia in one way or another. All postings must be signed in order to be printed, and messages should be reasonably short — one or two brief paragraphs would be ideal — so that as many messages as possible can be put into each mailing.

Send mail with questions or comments to
Web site copyright ©DCWatch (ISSN 1546-4296)