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Other cities get to host television series about frolicsome 20-somethings, but D.C. has seemed eternally saddled with drippy workaholics like The X Files’ Mulder. Until now. Last week, Entertainment Weekly reported that the WB network is developing a drama titled DC. A WB publicistspeaking strictly on backgroundsays DC will chronicle the hopes, dreams, and social lives of young local professionals: the environmental lobbyist, the CNN-style journalist, and, of course, the obligatory Hill staffer. The series will star Mark-Paul Gosselaarbetter known as the blond heartthrob from Saved by the Bellas well as MTV Real World alum Jacinda Barrett. Channel 20 is as close as you’ll get to the stars, though: DC won’t be filmed on location. It will, however, employ lots of local exterior shotsthe first of which are to be filmed this week.
Half-Cocked In the past two months, the Washington Post has run two frightening front-page articles on the number of escapes from D.C. halfway houses. Many abscondees, the articles emphasized, are awaiting trial for violent offenses. Jason Ziedenberg of the Justice Policy Institute says to hold the hysteria. “The threat to public safety has been overstated,” claims Ziedenberg. Last week, his D.C.-based think tank, along with D.C. Prisoners’ Legal Services and American University’s criminal justice program, released its own report, Half-Truths: The Complicated Story of D.C.’s Halfway House Escapes. The report deflated many of the Post’s sensational figures. “If an inmate was missing for one minute, he or she was labeled as an escapee,” says Ziedenberg, blaming D.C.’s Department of Corrections for the faulty statistics. Alarmed by the Post’s findings, some D.C. councilmembers have supported legislation to prohibit sending violent crime suspects to halfway houses. At-Large Councilmember Carol Schwartz says Half-Truths hasn’t changed her mind, though. “I think the numbers are appalling,” says Schwartz. “Even if you split the difference, it’s still too much.”
Words on the Street While D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is busy filling potholes, the D.C. Council is doing some roadwork of its own: This month, councilmembers introduced two bills to rename streets after local institutions. One bill would designate an alley between 12th and 13th Streets NW “Ben Ali’s Way,” after the owner of nearby Ben’s Chili Bowl, the U Street eatery that’s been serving customers since 1958. And in recognition of a councilmember who served almost that long, the private street between Eckington Place and Third Street NE would be officially named Harry Thomas Way. Though developers named the street after the former Ward 5 Councilmember several years ago, they’re seeking a public designation because a tenant on the block is having a hard time receiving mail.
Adults Not Allowed For its year-plus run on Wisconsin Avenue, MVC Late Night Video starred in Tenleytown’s own First Amendment battle, defended by local American Civil Liberties Union members against residents worried that its adult-oriented wares would corrupt neighborhood morals. MVC opened agreeing to comply with a District rule requiring “mixed-use” video stores to limit sexually oriented items to 15 percent of inventory.But when advisory neighborhood commissioner Peter Yeo spotted an advertisement promoting an in-store appearance by porn legend Nina Hartleywhich tripped the legal wire to designate MVC a full-on “sexually-oriented”businesshe alerted the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). Last month, DCRA threatened to revoke MVC’s certificate of occupancy, but it didn’t need to fill out the paperwork: MVC voluntarily shuttered the next week. MVC owners were unavailable for comment.
Seeing Is Believing “There’s a striking similarity among the individuals pictured here,” reads Bell Atlantic’s full-page March 11 Washington Post advertisement, below a snapshot of 12 African-American executivesincluding Bell Atlantic-D.C. CEO Marie C. Johns. “They’re leading our company.” A visit to the company’s Web site, however, suggests they’re not quite the bosses potential consumers are supposed to think they are: Of 15 people on the site’s executive profiles page, all but one are white and all but one are men.
Reporting by Jason Cherkis, Laura Lang, Nefretiti Makenta, Alexandra Phanor, and Michael Schaffer.
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