We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Same Old Scoop Cleveland Park ice cream aficionados anxious for some chocolate mousse truffle will soon have to settle for a soft vanilla cone at McDonald’s. “Bye Bye Cleveland Park Charm: Hello Corporate Look-Alike Strip! A Gap and a Limited on Every Corner by 2002!” reads a sign in the 3510 Connecticut Ave. NW window of Uptown Scoop. Last November, Starwood Urban Investments purchased the building that contains the ice cream shop as well as a polyglot of restaurants and independently owned retail stores. When provisions in the tenants’ leases prevented Starwood from evicting the stores, the developer raised rents, tenants suspect, to force the businesses out and to clear space for national retail chains. The strategy appears to have worked: Uptown Scoop will dish out its last cone Monday. Starwood’s presence has had a similar sanitizing effect on Dupont Circle, forcing landmarks such as the Newsroom to move elsewhere in the neighborhood (“Blocked Out,” 7/9/99). Duangthip Jayanan, owner of the Thai restaurant Timtida, says she will leave Cleveland Park by June. “We just redid everything, put lots of money in the property,” says Jayanan. Starwood executives did not return phone calls for comment.
Have a Chair Last Friday, members of the D.C. Council’s Committee on Human Services grilled Public Benefit Corp. (PBC) Chair John A. Fairman, who oversees the city’s public hospitals and clinics, about financial management and reported budget deficits. Fairman sat in the hot seat for three hours, enduring three full rounds of questioning from Councilmembers Sandy Allen, David Catania, Jim Graham, and Carol Schwartz. Soon afterward, though, the chair was occupied by someone Fairman himself had put in the hot seat only a day before: Dr. Paul O. Oriaifo, president of the PBC’s medical-dental staff. On Feb. 10, the Washington Post reported that PBC administrators planned to fire Oriaifo for failing to treat enough patients while serving as head of D.C. General Hospital’s trauma unit. Oriaifo used the public witness time in the budget-oversight hearing to defend his record. “I am a good doctor,” Oriaifo said.