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Two weeks ago, Fuzzy, Amanda Young’s second-grade class’s pet gerbil at Janney Elementary School, suffered a severe spinal-cord injury after a fall from her exercise wheel. Since Fuzzy didn’t have health insurance, Young’s students planned a lunchtime bake sale to raise money for the gerbil’s hospitalization. But that was before Deal Junior High School Principal Reginald Moss was reprimanded by the D.C. Inspector General for using revenues from lunchtime Domino’s pizza sales to supplement school needs—and thus competing with the public school’s subsidized lunch program. The brouhaha led Janney Principal Anne Gay to reschedule Fuzzy’s fundraiser to the pre-lunchtime hour of 11 a.m. “We moved it so that the point that people would pay attention to is the gerbil,” notes Gay. The youngsters still raised a whopping $304.55—enough for medical bills plus a sizable donation to the Humane Society. Fuzzy is recuperating in her home aquarium.

Revenge of the Nerds Over the years, D.C.’s 37 advisory neighborhood commissions (ANCs) have earned less than flattering marks for fiscal propriety and service delivery. Last month, commissioners turned the tables by filling out a few “report cards” of their own. As a part of At-Large Councilmember David Catania’s ANC oversight hearings, commissioners rated 15 city agencies they regularly do business with. Most agencies received a “satisfactory” rating from at least 70 percent of commissioners, according to results released this week. Agencies that fell below that mark include the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, at 48.3 percent, the Department of Public Works, at 31 percent, and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), at an abysmal 4.3 percent. Commissioners complained that DCRA rarely provides required 30-day notices about agency action and repeatedly ignores ANC input, says council staffer Ross Weber, who tabulated the results. DCRA Director Lloyd Jordan declined comment on his agency’s failing grades.

PAC Mentality Frustrated by D.C. Superior Court’s on-again, off-again approach to payday, the District’s court-appointed defense attorneys have adopted a tactic more commonly associated with their K Street brethren: A group of attorneys is

forming a political action committee (PAC) to garner Congressional influence. As reported in Legal Times, J-PAC will be one of the first organizations of its kind. No city’s attorneys need the help more, says Richard Landis, who in 1993—after 18 months of lobbying—helped win the attorneys their first pay raise in 10 years. Even though court-appointed lawyers generally disassociate themselves from the accouterments of Gucci Gulch, Landis says the PAC is a matter of survival: “It’s important for Congress to be educated about what we do.” Adds attorney Colin Dunham, one of the 10 founders of J-PAC: “Why do you rob banks? ‘Cause that’s where the money is. We’ve got to play the same game that they play.”

Shawshank Exemption

Barney Circle resident Theodore Hill was surprised to read about an attempted escape from D.C.’s Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF) in the March 15 Washington Post. Hill, after all, thought he was on a list of folks to be contacted in the event of an emergency at the facility, which is only blocks away from his home. “The only calls I ever get are those concerning Lorton,” says Hill. “We would like to know about ones in D.C., so we can alert neighbors.” Department of Corrections officials say they removed CTF from the alert list when the facility was turned over to the private Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). CCA spokesperson Gloria Lloyd says CCA alerted all law enforcement agencies and sounded the alarm bell for neighbors to hear.

Cover Up The April issue of Sculpture Magazine contains a surprising news blurb: Under the headline “Monument in Transition,” the magazine claims that “the Washington Monument will be dismantled to make way for a more contemporary, open design by architect Michael Graves.” Graves, of course, designed the aluminum scaffolding with blue mesh fabric surrounding the monument during its renovation. The magazine reports that the project will begin April 1. Hmmm.

Reporting by Colin Bane, Laura Lang,

Nefretiti Makenta, and Amanda Ripley.