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I am responding to a Loose Lips item of July 16, “Diversite Training.” Loose Lips’ columns are generally interesting and newsworthy, and I enjoy reading his pieces. I am hoping, however, that this item is not representative of Lips’ journalistic fortitude.

The column is replete with factually incorrect information and innuendo. Lips has gone so far as to misquote a source he contacted for the article, Mr. Douglas Fierberg, an attorney representing a group protesting Diversite’s liquor license. But the fact that Lips so boldly states that Diversite is a “nightclub popular with gangs” and that patrons of the establishment have “sprinkled the blood of their nemeses all about the club’s environs” is just plainly unfair. There are no gangs at Diversite, we have never had even one fight in our establishment, and we have a serious dress code that keeps out patrons prone to violence. Loose Lips, I personally invite you to Diversite this Saturday night—be sure to wear a shirt over your tank top, tuck that shirt in, leave your tennis shoes home, and have a good time. Indeed, we received an award from the Logan Circle Community Association for “Most Significant Contribution to 14th Street’s Revitalization,” and we send our own security patrol around the Church and Q Street area on weekend evenings.

I could easily go on, but let me simply point to the fact that D.C. real estate assessments for the 1400 block of Q Street NW have increased, on average, 60 percent over the past two years! Instead of appreciating Diversite for the overwhelming efforts that we make and patronizing the establishment, Q Street neighbors choose complaint and protest. And Lips only exacerbates the situation with lies and misrepresentation.

Yes, we were all terribly disturbed by the tragic murder of Warren Helm two years ago—almost one mile from Diversite. For the record, the police report states that the murder was not at all connected with Diversite. Most disturbing is Lips’ connection of a random accident—an intoxicated man who fell down on the sidewalk near Q Street several weekends ago—and crime at Diversite. The item closes with his viewing “the medics scraping the night’s beating victim off the pavement.” Well, Loose Lips, if you were indeed at the scene of the accident at 3:06 a.m., you must have noted that the man was assisted by his friends until medical help arrived. A Diversite representative was on hand to assist him. And there was no criminal action. Did you call the police to inquire about a police report for your alleged “beating victim”? If you had done your homework and made even one phone call, perhaps we wouldn’t need to question your judgment. When the D.C. ambulance arrived to help the young man, were you actually present? If you had been, your account of the situation very likely would have differed from the one in your column.

Let’s just get one thing straight: You and your “yuppie neighbors” should feel free to protest liquor licenses and continue your crusades. That is your right and choice. But making allegations about gang shootings, violence, and other random incidents that have absolutely nothing to do with an establishment (La Mara R and shootings at the Latin American Youth Center on June 25, for example) clearly exceeds your limited yuppie proclivity for objectivity.


via the Internet