Dear Unabashed Readers:
When the Nevada Boxing Commission refused to license Mike Tyson to
fight and rebuffed the Tyson-Lewis boxing match as below even that
state's moral standards, fight promoters realized that they needed to
find a place where political standards were lower and looser than in Las
Vegas. Mayor Williams and the DC Boxing Commission rushed forward to
volunteer themselves. “It's all about the money, baby,” is their
message; “nothing counts but the money.” And they count on their
wildly inflated estimates of how much money Washington will make out of
the fight — inflated even more than their outrageous fantasies of how
much the city would profit from the Olympics or from a baseball team —
to blind Washingtonians to the implications for the city of hosting the
The City Council was also shameless this week. A few months ago, the
Council passed a predatory lending bill designed to protect consumers
against predatory lenders, but the protests of their financial sponsors
caused Councilmembers to have second thoughts. On Tuesday, they passed a
substitute bill, designed instead to protect predatory lenders that are
incorporated as banks or as savings and loans against competition from
other companies. Occasionally the shameful political deals aren't done
in smoke-filled back rooms, but right out in public.
Even themail is shameless. We rarely boast that we told you so.
That's because of our innate modesty, not because (as some might think)
we're so rarely right. Sometimes, however, we can't help gloating
shamelessly. This week US Department of Housing and Urban Development
suspended the Church Association for Community Service's lucrative
sweetheart deal to renovate 300 DC houses (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30502-2002Feb18.html).
Readers of themail knew the deal wouldn't work as soon as it was first
announced, because we said then that CACS didn't have the ability to do
the work, but was chosen solely as political payback for having
laundered contributions to the Mayor's political causes (http://www.dcwatch.com/themail/2001/01-07-18.htm).
Maybe there's a glimmer of hope here, though. HUD was shameless enough
to award the contract to CACS, but in the past it would have ignored its
failure to perform and honored it at an awards dinner. If HUD is serious
about reforming housing programs in DC, it will pull the contract
completely; if not, it will reinstate it as soon as the publicity dies
Yesterday's Washington Post Sports section had an article
about the DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission's consideration of
licensing a Mike Tyson boxing match in DC. Mr. Tyson has been denied a
license for this fight in three other states because of concerns with
regard to his character. Apparently, the only other venue being
considered is the Netherlands.
According to a quote from the Mayor's office, it is expected that
such an event would generate upwards of $40 million in revenue mostly
for our beleaguered tourist/hospitality industry. However, the quote
went on to say that the City is considering providing tax relief to the
organizers of the fight.
I say WHY? They can't get a license to fight anywhere else and
they'll make at least $50 million between the two fighters and the
organizers. So why they need tax relief? Frankly, they need DC more than
DC needs them. Why offer even a penny of tax relief? The District's
likely sanctioning of Mr. Tyson's character is worth $50 million
already. No tax breaks for this fight, please.
Are there any laws pertaining to feeding pigeons? I live near Thomas
Circle and there is this little old lady who feeds the pigeons all the
time. (She even had a story done about her in the City Paper a few years
back). Now, I don't want to deprive some poor little old lady out of her
simple pleasure of feeding the birds, but as we all know, pigeons have
few natural predators in the city, and with a constant food supply and
no natural enemies, the numbers of pigeons is staggering. The birds try
to nest on my balcony, making a loud and disruptive noise (usually in
the morning an hour before I have to get up), and they also leave
massive amounts of excrement and feathers. I cannot walk out on my
balcony without shoes on as their droppings are everywhere. This cannot
be healthy. Are there any laws about this? For example, contributing to
an unhealthy atmosphere? I am not anti-pigeon and I am not anti-animal,
and I realize that living in the city has its drawbacks of pigeons and
rats and yes, even aggressive squirrels, but there are an amazing number
of these pigeons due to the free food handouts, and I can't be the only
one in the area that feels this is disruptive and a hazard to people's
health. If you had to sweep my balcony three to four times a week like I
do, you'd see what damage this causes and how this compromises my
standard of living. (To be fair, she isn't the only one in the area
feeding pigeons — there is also a woman who tosses out bags of bread
in the National Church parking lot — but she is the most visible).
As Easy as 1-2-3
Ed T. Barron, firstname.lastname@example.org
A very interesting article in Sunday's Outlook section of the Post
describes how the wimpy Department of Education and their new federal No
Child Left Behind Act will not make any real difference in the outcomes
of today's schools. There are really only three basic things that will
make a difference in the educational processes (and particularly in
those processes in the DC school system). First, we must only put
teachers in the classroom who are qualified to teach the subjects they
are expected to teach. Second we need teachers who have developed
teaching methods that can inspire and excite kids to learn, remember
that these inner city kids don't have any incentives to learn. We need
teachers who can draw these kids out and get them to actively
participate in the learning processes. That's not to say this is easy.
The third basic thing is to find ways to put these qualified and able
teachers in the classrooms in spite of the onerous rules, regulations,
and blocks that are imposed on the DC schools by the teacher's unions.
Those schools that have followed this simple approach and ignored the
rules that the teacher's unions have imposed have the best outcomes in
educating their students.
Like Renee Schwager, I can’t help but notice the license plate
numbering schemes. While I haven’t seen a BI plate, I have seen a few
BJ plates, but it’s odd that BK is already being issued when BJ just
hit the streets. As for absence of BI, I wonder if it’s reserved for
something special (as BB was, for the plates that don’t have the
Taxation Without Representation slogan).
Speaking of which, do any readers have those? I see them occasionally
and always am tempted to ask the driver of the vehicle why they
requested them. You have to go to a bit of trouble to get them, and it’s
curious to me that there actually are DC residents who would take that
extra time to express their view that they really like paying taxes
without getting a vote in Congress. I realize that opinions differ on
the subject, even within the District, but it still surprises me when I
see them. Any BB tag holders out there want to enlighten me?
I just received my notice to reregister my auto in the District of
Columbia. If I re-up for one year, it costs $55. For two years it is
$135. Let's see, two years at $135 if I pay the one-time fee or two
years at $110 if I pay twice. Seems to me that it should be the other
way around because we would be saving the DC government time and energy
every other year.
Parking Issues in Residential Neighborhoods
Stacey Kornegay, email@example.com
I would like to revisit an issue that was brought up in themail on
February 6. There are two churches in my neighborhood; one at the corner
of 14th Street and South Carolina Avenue, SE, and the other at 14th
Street and Independence Avenue, SE. On Sunday mornings and some weekday
evenings, there is absolutely no parking on South Carolina Avenue (and
other streets, I'm quite sure). This is due to church services and/or
programs. Right now, there is a big, abandoned playground that can serve
beautifully as a parking lot for all church members who do not live in
this neighborhood. Bryan Elementary has been closed for years and is
supposed to be turned into townhouses and condos. Until this happens,
why can't these churches be told to tell their parishioners to use this
playground as a parking lot? It is unfair for residents to be forced to
park on other streets because of church parishioners from Maryland and
Virginia. This is a ridiculous problem that my neighbors and my family
have to go through at least three times a week. Any suggestions?
One would assume that any churchgoer who parks illegally, obstructs
wheelchair cuts and blocks legally parked cars from moving must simply
be momentarily distracted by their godly pursuits and oblivious to the
earthly travails of others. Or perhaps they are just concerned for the
heathen pursuits that must be involved in any Sunday morning driving
that does not have the house of the Lord as its ultimate destination.
Whatever the reason, I think a simple note on the windshield of the
errant car should be enough to remind churchgoers of their
transgression. And this simple note is 100 times more effective if it is
written in large letters with Crisco solid vegetable shortening.
Double Parking Protest
Michael Bindner, firstname.lastname@example.org
I would suggest to neighbors of Christian churches with double
parking that they talk to the pastor. Even if the law is not behind you,
truth is, so you might get a positive response. If you don't, however,
organize a protest. One hour before the congregants arrive from
Maryland, get together and jam the streets around the church with parked
cars, remain with your vehicles and quietly let the church members know
that double parking will not be tolerated. Make sure you tell the media
you are doing this, so that the MPD behaves itself.
Responsiveness of Councilmembers
Faith Wheeler, Takoma DC, email@example.com
Councilmember Adrian Fenty has been responsive to his constituents,
giving them an opportunity to express their concerns. That's the
underlying principle of democracy, and that's a-building here in Ward 4.
Hopefully, more people will express their concerns and listen carefully
to those of their neighbors. Dialogue comes next, I hope.
Councilmember Responses: Jim Graham
James Treworgy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since Adrian Fenty is getting such accolades in this forum from his
constituents, I had to give Jim Graham the same respect here. Since he
took office, I have written to him about all manner of things, and the
service provided has been nothing but excellent. If Jim doesn't
personally respond quickly to my messages, one of his staffers does, and
in that case Jim always follows up personally later. And beyond simply
getting a message back, if some action was requested from a DC agency, I
have received a CC in the U.S. mail of Jim's printed letter to the
appropriate agency or agency head. For my money Jim wrote the book on
how to take good care of constituents.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Have Dinner with the Little Drummer Boy
Drue Williams, DW6BASS@aol.com
The Isaiah Williams Project will be performing every Wednesday from 7
p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Adelis Restaurant, 6495 New Hampshire Avenue,
4th Floor, Hyattsville, MD 20783. All-you-can-eat soul food buffet
included. For more information contact the Adelis Restaurant at
301-559-4600 or 301-559-4100 or go to http://www.isaiahwilliams.com.
Public Meeting with School Board Members
Michelle E. Hynes, email@example.com
On Tuesday, February 26, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Board of Education
President Peggy Cooper Cafritz and School District One Representative
Julie Mikuta will host a community meeting at Lincoln Middle School.
This will be an opportunity for residents in District 1 (Wards 1 and 2)
to hear from our school board member and president, and to express our
concerns to them about local public education issues. Lincoln Middle
School is at 3101 16th Street, NW (at Irving Street); it is easily
accessible by bus and from the Columbia Heights Metro station.
TasteDC.com’s Mid-February/Mid-March 2002
Calendar of Wine and Food Events
Charlie Adler, firstname.lastname@example.org
1) February 26, Tuesday, 4-Course Wine Dinner at Shelly's West End
with J. Lohr Winery, Shelly's West End, 21st and M Streets, NW, closest
Metros Foggy Bottom (Blue/Orange Line) and Farragut North Metro Stop
(Red Line), limited street parking available, 7-9:30 p.m. seated dinner,
$65, tax and tip inclusive. The menu: four courses, all paired with
wine, more info soon! Please note: this is a seated event. 2) February
27, Wednesday, Taking the Mystery Out of French Wines, 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, $45 per person. 3)
February 28, Thursday, Wine Basics 101, Radisson Barcelo Hotel. 7-7:30
p.m. reception, 7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $40 per person. Washington, DC's
most popular wine tasting: over 3,000 people have attended this event in
our 4-year history: Ann Berta, wine columnist for Washingtonian
Magazine, will show you how to order wine in a restaurant, determine
basic wine styles and varietals, pair wine and food and more! You will
taste 9 wines at this event. 4) March 6, Wednesday, 3rd Annual Oyster
and Wine Festival at the New Zealand Embassy, 37 Observatory Circle, NW
(behind the British Embassy off Massachusetts Avenue), limited street
parking, 7-9:30 p.m., $70/person, tax and tip inclusive. 1000's of
oysters freshly shucked on the half-shell, prepared oyster specialties
(menu soon!), New Zealand importers showcase up-and-coming wine winners:
Highfield Estates, Saint Clair Estate Wines, Vavasour Wines, Te Mata
Estate Winery, Grove Mill Winery, Jackson Estate, Tohu Wines, Framingham
Wine Company, Goldwater Estate, Nautilus, Franklin Wines, Mount Riley
Wines, Fairland Wines, Matariki Wines. Dress is business casual. Please
note: this event is walk-around/reception style (no seating). 5) March
7, Thursday, 2nd Annual Trifon Zarezan Wine Harvest Festival, Embassy of
the Republic of Bulgaria, 1621 22nd St., NW, 2 1/2 blocks from Dupont
Circle, nearest Metro Station: Dupont Circle (Red Line), very limited
street parking, 7-9 p.m., $55 per person. Join us for our 2nd Annual
Trifon Zarezan Festival, an ancient holiday for Bulgarians where they
dress in their Sunday-best to eat good food and celebrate the wine from
the harvest! 6) March 11, Monday, Teatro Goldoni 4-Course Wine Dinner --
Food and Wines of Venetia, sponsored by the Winebow Leonardo LoCascio
Selections of Wines. Teatro Goldoni Restaurant, 1909 K St., NW, $125,
tax and tip inclusive, 7-9:30 p.m., valet parking available, Metros
Farragut North and Farragut West are both 2 1/2 blocks away. Join us at
the lovely Teatro Goldoni Restaurant as we partake in Chef Fabrizio
Aielli's 4-course creation of Venetian world cuisine all paired with the
world-class wines of Winebow's Leonardo LoCascio Selections! 7) March
12, Tuesday, Cocktails 101: New and Trendy Cocktails, Ozio Restaurant
and Lounge, 1813 M St., NW, Metro: Farragut North or Dupont Circle (Red
Line) within 3 blocks, 7-9 p.m., $40. All new drinks! Learn how to make
and taste 10 different cocktails all produced by Ozio's experienced
bartender! 8) March 14, Thursday, Great Wines of South America:
Argentina, and Chile, Radisson Barcelo Hotel, 7:30 p.m. reception,
7:30-9 p.m. tasting, $40 per person. 9) Saturday, March 16, 1st Annual
International Beer Festival, Sports Club/L.A. Auditorium at the
Ritz-Carlton, 1170 22nd St. at M St., NW, 1-4 p.m., $35/person in
advance, $45 at the door. Join TasteDC.com as we taste over 70 artisanal
small production and hand-crafted beers from all over the world! We have
a fantastic lineup of both local importers and international producers
who take great pride in their beers: high quality ingredients,
highly-trained brewers who show attention to detail and smaller
production create very high quality. It's amazing to taste the variety
of flavors you can get from the combination of only 4 ingredients:
barley, hops, yeast and water. Also included in the ticket price are two
1/2 hour free seminars (limited seating), Belgian beers and lambic (4
beers tasted) with Jeff Wells, Craft Brewer's Guild; and the history of
beer (4 beers tasted) with Ryan Maher, Merchant du Vin-East.
All-inclusive in the price is unlimited sampling, free tasting glass, a
variety of international cheeses, smoked salmons, pates, breads and dips
provided by Fresh Fields of Georgetown. Reservations at http://labyrinth.dgsys.com/clients/tasteusa.com/order.cgi?X_DC
or phone 333-5588.
Hard Time Blues
Jason Ziedenberg, email@example.com
Vertigo Books and Martin Luther King Library present award-winning
journalist Sasha Abramsky reading and discussing his book Hard Time
Blues on Thursday, February 28, 6:30 p.m., at Martin Luther King,
Jr., Library, 901 G Street, NW. In September 1996, 53-year-old heroin
addict Billy Ochoa was sentenced to 326 years in prison. His crime:
committing $2100 worth of welfare fraud. His incarceration will cost
over $20,000 a year until he dies. Hard Time Blues brings alive the
political forces that have led our prison population to increase more
than fourfold in the past 20 years. Through the stories of Ochoa and
others, Abramsky explores in devastating detail how the public has been
manipulated into supporting mass incarceration during a period when
crime rates have been steadily falling. He deftly explores the War on
Drugs, the Rockefeller Laws, and more, and how the stunning
repercussions of imprisoning two million citizens affect all of America.
Abramsky is an award-winning freelance journalist. Cosponsored by the
Justice Policy Institute, The Sentencing Project, DC Prisoner Legal
Services, National Center for Institutional Alternatives and Families
Against Mandatory Minimums. For information, please call 301-779-9300.
CLASSIFIEDS — FOR SALE
Too much stuff, too many steps! Apartment renovation sale — ultra
cheap stuff. Mostly funky/functional furniture. Futon and frame, table,
bookcases, dresser, shelving, lamp, table, bed and headboard, two nice
big Ficus trees. All $25.00 or less. Mucho odds and ends. Dot matrix
printer free! HP LaserJet printer $5.00 (paper feed a little wonky).
Dryer (old but works) free! (You carry; no elevator.) Also two genuine
antique wooden swivel desk chairs (Pottery Barn repros cost $299.00).
Antique claw and ball foot piano stool; make offer. Vintage clothes:
1940's nurses' uniforms (fetishes anyone?), beautiful dresses, and coats
sizes 10-12. This Saturday, February 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 1421 Columbia
Road, NW, #404. Early birds will be eaten by dog.
For sale, Xerox 5322 photocopier. It double-sides, it reduces, it
enlarges, it sorts and staples. It needs a new photo receptor drum,
which costs $475, though. Make me an offer. You haul. Contact me at
483-1764 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSIFIEDS — HELP WANTED
Stand for Children
Matthew Kessler, email@example.com
Stand for Children, a national grassroots children's organization, is
seeking people to fill the following positions: administrative
assistant, writer. Complete job descriptions and application guidelines
are available at http://www.stand.org/aboutus/jobs.html.
Stand for Children is also seeking interns for the spring session.
Interns will work with local volunteers all across the country in
planning Stand for Children Day 2002 events in their community. A
complete outline of the internship is available at http://www.stand.org/aboutus/internships.html.
Students who are interested should E-mail their resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
or fax to 234-0217.
CLASSIFIEDS — WANTED
Would like to locate a gently used treadmill at a reasonable price.
CLASSIFIEDS — RECOMMENDATIONS
Montessori Schools in DC
Stacey Kornegay, email@example.com
With the state of the DCPS system, I am looking to put my son in a
Montessori school. If anyone knows of Montessori schools in DC, please
contact me at the e-mail address listed above.
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