City Paper is not for tourists
One Heart Sonny Bono has had a tough posthumous stretch. Widow Mary Bono thinks he may have been on painkillers at the time of his skiing death. A man claiming to be an illegitimate son wants some of his estate. His mom has denounced his widow for taking his House seat. And now even Sonny Bono Memorial Parkthe peaceful triangle at 21st Street and New Hampshire Avenue founded by boating buddy Geary Simon (see “A Shrine for Sonny,” 8/14/98)is under a dark cloud: Someone has deflowered nearly a dozen of the red and white tulips that Simon imported to the park from Holland. Simon posted mimeographed warnings pleading “Please Do Not Cut the Tulips: This is not a public park. It is a privately maintained memorial park in honor of a friend.” The signs wound up flushing out the culprit, an office worker across the street out to brighten her cubicle. Once she found out it wasn’t the District she was stealing from, she apparently felt the pangs of conscience. “She was very, very apologetic,” says Simon, relieved that no new anti-Bono efforts were afoot.
Banned in D.C. Despite rumors to the contrary, local rabble-rouser Sam Smith has not been banned for a second time from radio station WAMU. Years ago, former D.C. Politics Hour host Derek McGinty banished Smith for “excessive irony,” according to co-host Mark Plotkin. After Kojo Nnamdi inherited the show, the longtime statehood stalwart returned on Sept. 18, 1998, and appeared again this past Jan. 22. But in the April 20 edition of his Progressive Review, Smith says he’s been “reliably informed” that upper management has blacklisted him againthis time for slamming a local member of Congress on the air. Program Director Steve Martin denies the allegation: “I have not made any such decision, nor been asked to,” Martin says. A contrite Plotkin admits to spreading the rumors, but says he was simply misinformed. Says Plotkin: “Sam is always welcome in the WAMU studio, although sparingly.” Smith remains on guard, however, and has no immediate plans to retract news of the banishment: “I will be glad to print a correction as soon as I’m invited to appear on the show.”
Finding the Goat Monday’s D.C. Council hearing on tax cuts marked yet another day of contention over D.C.’s 2000 budget. Councilmembers took turns accusing D.C.’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer of cooking the numbers in order to build up opposition to the council’s controversial tax-cutting scheme. But at least one witness came with a message of peaceand a visual aid that for once didn’t look like a pie chart. After testifying in favor of tax breaks for new D.C. residents and businesses, witness Ronald Eng rustled through a shopping bag and pulled out a stuffed goat named Gallagher. Eng said he and his girlfriend had picked Gallagher up at a Hallmark store because the goat reminded them of Mayor Anthony A. Williams. “We thought this was an apt thing to bring to the mayor at his budget hearings, because Tony really is willing to butt heads,” Eng said. Lyle Blanchard, clerk for the Committee on Finance and Revenue, says the goat was not entered into the record.
Failed Bid The Janney Elementary School auction on Saturday night at St. Columba’s Church in American University Park was a massive success for everyone involvedeveryone, that is, except Vice President Al Gore. Parents of Janney students raised money for the school by bidding lustily on original art, vacation packages, and sports memorabilia. But an autographed photograph of the likely Democratic presidential nominee received not a single bid. The office supplies adjacent to Gore raised $22.
Love Triangulation Last Wednesday at the Prince George’s County Courthouse, the normal rustlings of the legal process were interrupted by a noisy set-to. The screaming matchbetween two men and two equally enraged womenstarted with a shove, carried down the hall, and passed through the metal detectors and into the rain before two nightstick-wielding guards put the men in headlocks. “It’s child-support day, and a lot of times that causes problems because the daddy and the boyfriend show up at the same time,” explained a weary clerk.
Reporting by David Carr, Jason Cherkis, Eddie Dean, Laura Lang, and Amanda Ripley.
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