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May 18, 2005


Dear Neighbors:

What we write to themail is all about how we live in the city. If we concentrate on the government or large institutions like WMATA and WASA, as we often do, it’s because they have a direct impact on our daily lives, and it’s by our comparing notes on what they’re doing to us and our communities that we can gauge whether they’re working well or in our interests.

But it’s really all about us, and how we’re faring here. So I have an open-ended question for you: how are you doing? Let us know, because, believe me, we’re interested.

Gary Imhoff


Just Think
Ed T. Barron, edtb@aoldotcom

That tiny, single-engined Cessna 150 that got about a mile from the Capitol Building last week, piloted by two novice pilots, was traveling at about one hundred miles per hour. Just think if that were a small business aircraft like a Learjet, not much bigger than the 150 but with a top speed of almost six hundred miles per hour. Just how close do you think a Learjet could get to any place in the city, especially if more than one of them came at the same time? Maybe that DC police person stationed at the Homeland Security Office will not be out to lunch when the next scare comes. And, just maybe, the telephone line between the DC Emergency Preparedness Office and Homeland Security will actually be monitored. This has been quite a learning experience, and shows how little prepared the District really is to respond to any real emergency.


Impressions of a Returning Daughter of DC
Star Lawrence,

I left DC nine years ago for the sands of Arizona to get my daughter into a different junior high (which didn’t work out too well) and to take care of my mother (which is a sad task but working out better). I pined for DC, my babies. Did I make the right choice, do I miss smart people, whine, whine? Well, I came back last weekend for the first time in four years and found a certain peace for the first time. My old building on Connecticut was frozen in amber, same unpainted spackling on the walls, same linoleum-covered elevator walls, same smells. I realized I could still be there doing the same things, but now I have two cities! I have a nice house here, koi pond; I am almost a Druid trying to make trees stay alive (omigod, people, hug those trees you have everyday!). I miss my friends, but I don’t miss the disturbed, glowering street people too much. Some storefronts on Connecticut by the Mayflower were vacant -- what is that?

Please don’t get defensive and think I am bashing DC. I love DC; I had a life there, but just know that I am a little relieved that after a decade I no longer feel like the city is a puzzle with one piece missing and I need to be slotted back in. Most of my friends don’t live downtown. If I came back, I probably wouldn’t see them more than I do now.


And Once Again Our Town Is Dead Last
Phil Shapiro,

The Dallas Morning News is the latest to launch a citizen media site and weekly publication, called Neighbors, in which readers are invited to send in stories, events, and photos. The publication is launching at first around four communities in the Dallas area, and planning is under way for the roll out of Neighbors in other communities:

Hello darkness my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again.


Impatient Curmudgeonry
Ed Dixon, Georgetown Reservoir,

The Post covered the Congressional Homestead Deduction story on Friday (, a day after I sent my beef to themail [May 15]. The Post actually reported the city’s side of the story differently from the Kansas City Star and the Boston Herald. As the local paper, they had more grit from the responsible agency. According to the Post, the problem was blamed on computers. That seems convenient. Neither the individuals in the government nor tax scofflaws can be blamed. It’s kind of a "shucks we got caught, we promise not to do it again," reply.

As far as the old Roy Rogers property, it looks like the city is still trying to catch up on some discrepancy in the land (not the improvements) assessment rates. The Maryland-based owners of square 1789 (which comprises the block upon which McDonalds and WUSA-TV9 sit) have not been paying what the city would like them to be paying on the parking lot behind the McDonalds. The city wants to raise the value of the land fourfold.

Remarkably, even if the city catches up on this one square, the suburbanite commercial property owners will be paying less per square foot of land on the McDonalds parking lot then I am on my semidetached single family home in Georgetown Reservoir. Even more questionable, with the 2006 proposed assessments, the land under my house is worth $30 more per square foot than the land under Channel 9. I guess that’s to make up for the fact that commercial property is taxed at a higher rate than residential. One wouldn’t want to put those suburbanites out just for trying to make a buck on the city. Meanwhile, the citizens in Ward 3 are busting their proverbial back sides to make up for the lack of resources in our schools, libraries, and recreation centers.


The Metrobus Crisis
Bryce A. Suderow,

In my last posting [themail, May 15], I gave a brief sketch of the hiring problem that Metrobus faces. I want to emphasize here that my statistics are not official Metro data. They’re based on verbal statements made to me by a dozen bus drivers. Also, I forgot to mention that Metro administers a psychological test which eliminates a lot of applicants. What’s the result of Metrobus losing drivers through retirement? For the first time in years, a majority of the drivers for Metro are rookies. As a result of a this influx of untrained drivers, Metro’s trainers are apparently stretched mighty thin. And they’ve neglected to train the new drivers adequately.

As a result of this lack of training for how to drive in DC traffic, Metro busses no longer follow their prescribed schedules. Here’s what happens frequently. The 90 bus falls behind schedule. The 92 bus gets ahead of schedule. Both arrive at a bus stop simultaneously, making a mockery of the schedule affixed to the bus stop. Another thing that happens a lot is that if the 90 bus is behind schedule, in an attempt to catch up to the schedule, it drives past passengers, leaving them for the 92 bus. Unfortunately oftentimes, these passengers need the 90 bus and they’re left stranded until the next 90 bus arrives.

Also, I’ve seen single busses, mostly on the Friendship Heights line, drive past waiting crowds of people without even slowing down. I don’t know if this is because they’re behind schedule or there is a rookie driver who thinks you don’t have to stop unless people flag you down like they do a taxi. Second, perhaps as a result of a shortage of drivers, Metro assigns routes to drivers unfamiliar with these routes. I’ve heard numerous stories by passengers of bus journeys where they had to tell the driver where to turn and where to stop. Third, I’ve run across new drivers who lack the training or skill to deal with abrasive passengers. They’re positively rude to their passengers, in fact. This is very bad. Given the violent nature of many bus passengers, Metrobus is faced with the possibility that an argument could escalate into an assault on its drivers.


Obstructing the View
Gabe Goldberg, Gabe at gabegold dot com

Ed Barron suggested, regarding carrying bike on buses [themail, May 15], that, “Bike racks should be placed on the rear of the bus, not the front.” How are bikes secured to the rack now? Maybe they just hang there, protected by being visible to driver and passengers? How would they be secured on rear-mounted (invisible to everyone on the bus) racks to avoid being stolen? Lock and key? Combination lock? Seems that would slow the bus down more. Or maybe it’s the bikester’s obligation to secure with his own lock? Even so, theft from the rear seems much more likely.


Shopping in the City
Mindy Moretti,

Gary Imhoff writes in the May 14 issue of themail that he could not find panko in any of the chain grocery stores in the District. Well the last time I checked, Whole Foods was a chain, and I’ve purchased panko at the P Street store. Dean and Deluca, as far as I know, is also a chain and they too carry panko.

Of course, Mr. Imhoff’s larger point is correct; that we, as residents of the District, are underserved by grocery stores, not only in the number and location of stores, but also in the products the stores here choose to sell. He’s also spot on about the situation with the Asian businesses surrounding the MCI Center.

However, the Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, that Mr. Imhoff laments could take another year to complete, is not the panacea for all of our grocery shopping woes (by the way, the Harris Teeter at Pentagon Row does not carry panko). And, for the record, I am one of the two Adams Morgan ANC Commissioners who voted against the project (the project was given conditional approval by the Adams Morgan ANC on a 5-2-1 vote).


Political Food
Dorcas C. Dessaso,

I visit the Harris Teeter Supermarket at Pentagon City whenever I cannot find a food item at the other big three local supermarkets (you know who they are). But to have to go to Pentagon City to find panko bread crumbs? Next time check out Whole Foods stores and also YES! health food Stores. The Washington Post mentioned panko in the Food section on Wednesday, May 5. But isn’t it sad? All we had to do at one time was go to Chinatown and find all of the items needed to make the scallop dish you mentioned. I am often asked by tourists when I am in that area “Where is Chinatown?” I can only answer, “Check out the elaborate gate that marks where it Chinatown begins up to 5th Street — approximately three to five blocks if that many — and that’s what’s left of Chinatown.” They laugh and keep walking. All the great restaurants that made up Chinatown are now gone. The few that are left are struggling! Thanks for the scallop recipe — I intend to try it!


Harris Teeter
Richard Wolf,

There will also be another store in DC at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, in the JPI condo development. There is no delay in connection with the building of this store.


Harris Teeter at Boys Town
Paul Wilson,

Harris Teeter already has one DC site, the former Boys Town Property at Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues, SE. It’s a mixed-use housing/retail development.


Harris Teeter on Capitol Hill
Ken Jarboe, ANC 6B,

Actually, the first Harris-Teeter in the city may be on Capitol Hill at the corner of Pennsylvania and Potomac Avenues, SE. In this case, the political process is working overtime to get them the needed approvals. The project came out of neighborhood discussions with the developer. The building was going to be all residential until the community asked the developer for more retail. The developer listened, worked the problem — including working with the community — and the rest, we hope, will soon be history. By the way, it will be right across the street from the Potomac Ave. Metro — so please come visit.


May 2005 InTowner
Peter Wolfe,

This is to advise that the May 2005 online edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at Included are the lead stories, community news items and crime reports, editorials (including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’ also archived), and the text from the ever-popular "Scenes from the Past" feature. Also included are all current classified ads. The complete issue (along with prior issues back to March 2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page at no charge simply by clicking the link provided. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it appears in print, including all photos and advertisements. The next issue will publish on June 10 (the 2nd Friday of the month, as always). The complete PDF version will be posted by the preceding night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.

To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link (due to a temporary technical glitch, still reads "April") on the home page to the following headlines: 1) “New Projects Bridging Gap on 14th Street — U Street & Columbia Heights Linking Up”; 2) “Harris Teeter Project Closer to Reality But Subject to ANC-Adopted Conditions”; 3) “Council Acts to Close Hated ‘95/5’ Loophole — Protections for Tenants Reestablished.”



Jazz Concert, May 20
Camille Ethridge,

DC’s own Collaboration Jazz Band will perform on Friday, May 20, at 6:00 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW. The performance will benefit the Manhood Training/Rites of Passage Program at Union Temple Baptist Church. The young men who are Manhood Training candidates will travel to Africa in July, where they will complete the crossover from boyhood to manhood in Asankrangwa, Ghana.

Enjoy an evening of jazz and support a positive activity for young men in the DC area. Tickets are $20. Contact or Carl Major at 207-5417 for ticket information.


Biltmore Street Yard Sale, May 21
Josh Gibson,

This is the long-awaited return of the famous biennial Biltmore Street Yard Sale Event. More than sixty-five households are expected to participate in getting rid of their old, their tired, and their surplus junk in front of their houses and apartments.

This event takes place on Biltmore and neighboring parts of Mintwood, Cliffborne, 19th, 20th, Belmont, and Calvert Streets, NW, and at 2707 Adams Mill Road, NW from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

(Does anyone know of a nonprofit located near Adams Morgan that accepts donations of clothing, furniture, electronics, knickknacks, etc., on Saturdays after 3 p.m.? After the big Adams Morgan yard sale this Saturday, lots of us will have things to donate, but won’t want to wait until Monday to donate the leftovers. Finding a place that accepts more than just clothing, and later on Saturday afternoons, is not easy.)


Guy Mason Recreation Center Summer Class Registration, May 23
Toni Ritzenberg,

Registration for summer classes at the Guy Mason Recreation Center (3600 Calvert Street, NW) begins on Monday, May 23, with classes starting the week of June 13. There are art classes in three levels, all with Studio and Critique. China painting begins June 22, and pottery runs for eight sessions. If you are interested in taking a future class in copper enameling, check Classes are being offered in Dancersize, Qi Gong and yoga. Intermediate and Advanced French is being offered this summer, with Spanish resuming in the fall. Bridge (Duplicate) is offered year-round on Mondays and Thursdays. Even though Guy Mason is an adult center, children are not forgotten. Responsible adults can bring tots from birth to four years, and both can participate in music together.

This is one of the best bargains the city has to offer. Visit the Guy Mason Center on Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. to register personally. To register online, visit and click on Activities Program Registration and follow the instructions. For further information, contact Robert Haldeman/Caryl King at 282-2180, and for program updates visit the Center’s web site,


Martha Burk at Woman’s National Democratic Club, May 24
Tamara O’Neil,

Martha Burk discusses and signs copies of her new book, Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America, on May 24, 11:30 a.m., at The Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Price: $25, including lunch.

Dr. Burk is a political psychologist and women’s equity expert who currently serves as Chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO), a network of over two hundred national women’s groups collectively representing ten million women. She led the NCWO effort to open Augusta National Golf Club to women and remains at the forefront of the debate on women’s progress in corporate America. She has also received the MS Magazine Woman of the Year Award in 2003. Her new book, Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It, unmasks the situation of discrimination and will be available for purchase. This event is cosponsored by the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues and early reservations are recommended. For more information about this event, please contact Tamara O’Neil at 232-7363, ext. 3002.


Multilingual Poetry Reading, May 25
James Kennedy,

On Wednesday, May 25, at 6 p.m., Translators Without Borders @ Borders, a Metropolitan Washington, DC, interpreters and translators group, will present its third annual multilingual poetry reading. Come and enjoy poems presented in a variety of languages and in English translation. Interpreters and translators from the DC area will share their own work and the work of others, introducing the audience to new poets and poetry from around the world. Audience members are also encouraged to read.

This is a free event at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW. Hosted by the DC Center for the Book at DC Public Library. All are welcome. Translators Without Borders @ Borders is a group of translators and interpreters that meet informally once a month at Borders Books (18th and L Streets, NW).


National Building Museum Events, May 25-26
Brie Hensold,

Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square stop, Metro Red Line.

Wednesday, May 25, 12:30-1:30 p.m. The building industry continues to improve its efficiency and capabilities. Jim Petersen, with Pulte Home Sciences, will discuss Pulte’s current work with large-scale, factory-built components that can be easily transported and effectively and efficiently incorporated into the residential home. Free. Registration not required.

Thursday, May 26, 8:00-9:30 p.m. The landforms designed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, ASLA, translate concepts that strengthen a site’s nature, history, culture, and function. Principal of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Seattle and Gustafson Porter, London, she will discuss her firms’ projects, including the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial in London, and the recently commissioned Washington Canal Park in Washington, DC. Following the lecture, she will sign copies of her books. $12 Museum and ASLA members; $17 nonmembers; $10 students. Prepaid registration required.


Beer Tasting at Woman’s National Democratic Club, May 26
Jessi Baden,

Enjoy a variety of locally brewed “craft beers” as Washington Beer Advocate, Michael Campbell, introduces you to the flavor-filled world of local brews. Mr. Campbell will discuss a brief history of beer, its many categories, the importance of appropriate glassware and beer and food pairings. Includes a tasting of five beers and appetizers Thursday, May 26, 6:30 p.m., at the Woman’s National Democratic Club, 1526 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. Price: members $20, nonmembers $25. A WNDC Educational Foundation event, checks should be payable to WNDC-EF. For more information, call 232-7363.


DC Vote Happy Hour, June 1
Shawn Roland,

Join us at the DC Vote Happy Hour! DC Vote will host its inaugural “American Democracy for America’s Capital” Monthly Happy Hour on Wednesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. at Cafe Saint Ex (1847 14th Street, NW) in Gate 54 (the basement floor). All DC voting rights supporters are invited and encouraged to come, bring friends, meet the DC Vote staff, network, and have a good time.

Mark your calendars! DC Vote Happy Hours will take place the first Wednesday of every month. RSVP today to Zainab Akbar by E-mail at



DSL for Winner of Literacy Essay Contest
Phil Shapiro,

I’ve been asked to give computer help to the winner of the annual DC LEARNs literacy writing competition, who received a computer as a prize for his winning essay. The computer is now running very nicely, but this fellow could sure use a DSL Internet connection to further his educational goals. See for further information. Kindly click on the small text “fundable profile” on the left side of this web page for some important details about this. It’s useful to note that the web just recently launched very quietly at the end of April 2005. Let’s show the country how the DC community is able to rally together. I’m asking for sixty people to contribute $8 each to cover this year of DSL Internet service. Any surplus funds will go to the grand prize winner of last year’s essay competition, Linda Lyles, who knows exactly how she’d like to put the money to use for her own educational advancement. Thanks for passing along word about this.


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