I have a long history of active involvement with our drive to obtain voting rights. Even Loose Lips, in his column “The GOP Out ” (1/11), acknowledged this. And my involvement, including personally visiting members of Congress, will continue.
When I was asked by DC Vote to make the recent trip to New Hampshire, I declined and told them—and only them—why. While I disagreed with the strategy behind the trip because I felt it could be counterproductive, it was never my intention to criticize it publicly. It was only when I was asked by the City Paper the day before the trip why I was not going that I made my feelings known. I stated, in regards to voting rights, “We are very close, and I think we need to continue making friends. Getting involved in the electoral process could be construed as partisan, and therefore could be hurtful to the cause.” That is all I said when asked. I did not mention a name, nor did I belittle anyone or anything. It is unfortunate that the trip’s organizer could not do the same.
I am writing to express deep disappointment with your publication and specifically your food critic, Tim Carman. While I respect the right and duty of any food critic to praise or pan as they see fit, I do take issue with Mr. Carman for his lazy and inaccurate reporting.
In covering my new restaurant, RedRocks Pizzeria in Columbia Heights, Carman has repeatedly misrepresented basic facts, reprinted phrases and paragraphs used in previous articles and has become fixated on my former lead pizzamaker.
To begin, within the first few weeks of opening, Carman maintained on WAMU’s Metro Connection that RedRocks was owned by our original pizza chef, Edan MacQuaid. A simple fact-check should be a part of any responsible reporting.
When we last spoke, Carman told me his article (The Feed, 1/4) would focus on drink specials, namely our bottomless mimosas served during brunch. Rather, the article he wrote was essentially a reprint of a Nov. 21, 2007, article (“The Old Rugged Crust”) mentioning RedRocks, including the same “Hugh Hefner” reference and restating his prior opinions, with no new reporting.
The only new thought in the article comes at the end, when he references our “bizarre pairing of pizza and a bottomless mimosa.” If Mr. Carman had actually tried our brunch, he would have known that RedRocks’ brunch features Belgian waffles, specialty omelets, and other traditional breakfast fare in addition to our full lunch menu.
I think you would concur that it is lazy journalism to reprint the same article from a previous issue and pawn it off as fresh material, especially since Carman’s review took place prior to his November article and no new research or reporting have taken place.
What’s more disturbing is Carman’s continued focus on one pizzamaker’s departure. Not once did Carman acknowledge that the rest of the kitchen staff has remained intact (and includes several other 2Amys’ alums who have made pizzas for us since opening night). I’m suspicious of the motivation behind writing three negative articles about a restaurant within its first six months of opening, all fixated on one employee.
I believe we’ve come a long way in six months, gaining many positive reviews from local and national publications. But frankly, our crowds every night are the real testament to the quality of our product, and it is my patrons’ endorsement that I am striving for. I would hope you would take pride in your publication and make sure your writers practice ethical and responsible journalism. Because at this time, the only “bizarre pairing” I can see is “Tim Carman” and “food critic.”
James O’Brien, owner, RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria
Tim Carman replies: I stated specifically in my Nov. 23 column that RedRocks was O’Brien’s pizzeria. In my Aug. 10 WAMU appearance, however, I said MacQuaid, then serving as chef and consultant, “started” and “opened” RedRocks. It would have been reasonable for listeners to infer he owned the place, and I apologize for the gaffe. My focus on MacQuaid is not without justification—without his name and pedigree, RedRocks would have been just another pizzeria. Finally, my contributions to the Feed section are typically condensed versions of my reviews; the particular capsule review that O’Brien references, however, was based not only on my Nov. 23 column (“The Old Rugged Crust”) but also on the original Sept. 14 column (“King of Fire”) as well as a blog item published on July 23. In other words, I have been to RedRocks more than enough times, including a visit in late December, to pass sound judgment on his place. O’Brien’s own waitress recommended the pairing of pizza and mimosa after I expressed doubt about it and, more important, I came down solidly in favor of the match.
I am writing to express my sadness over the recent dismissal of Robert Ullman from your Savage Love illustrating lineup. I have been a fan of Robert’s illustrations for years, and it is apparent that he can bring wit, life, and interest to just about any topic. In many cases, his illustrations are what draw me to look at and read the columns.
I had seen Robert’s illustrations before he found work at the City Paper and knew that he was headed for great things with his talent. Likewise, when I moved to the D.C. area and found out his talent was being utilized by the City Paper, I was thrilled! I have seen many illustrators’ work and can tell you that it would be plain foolish to let him get away because you won’t find another quite like him. Please reconsider this decision and get Robert back.
Editor’s note: Thanks to all the fans of Robert Ullman’s illustrations who’ve written in. Our budget cuts don’t allow us to continue commisioning weekly illustrations for Savage Love, but we were able to hire Ullman to do a permanent illustration for the column; it debuted last week. We’re going to keep hiring him when possible; he illustrated last week’s Young & Hungry column, for example.
Key to Success
“Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel” (11/30) represents some of the key reasons why businesses fail. All current and future business owners in America should take note of this and benefit from this article, because carelessness, having a mediocrity attitude toward business, being too trusting, and not doing the essential homework has proven to be a business’ kiss of death. As a former patron at District Lock and Hardware, I enjoyed the personal service I received. However, I was disappointed to find that the doors were closing and the company was being placed on the auction block. It is really a shame that this business has encountered such serious bookkeeping and tax problems. Former partners Michael Horwat and Steve Harrell appear to be talented individuals, but the reality is that it takes more than talent to keep a business afloat. I hope that Horwat and Harrell will be able to start over on a solid foundation.
Sharon J. Chambers