At Tuesday’s D.C. Council hearing on the appointment of Deborah Nichols as D.C. auditor, advisory neighborhood commissioner Mahdi Leroy J. Thorpe Jr. rose as a voice of dissent. He accused Nicholswho last month rapped his ANC’s spending habitsof excessively auditing predominantly black ANCs, characterizing her review of predominantly white ANCs as “niggardly.” No councilmembers objected to the word’s improper use.
Anacostia Road Show For six months, an 8-foot sign welcomed passers-by to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)-supported Anacostia Northern Gateway Project: “DHCD has lied, betrayed, and exploited the merchants and contractors in Anacostia. Call Shelton, 562-4399.” Last week, department officials tore down the sign, but not before it was preserved on film by Lamont Mitchella recent mayoral appointee who owns the nearby Imani Cafe. Mitchell’s photo, part of the “Hope in Our City” exhibit on display at Union Station during February, shows neighborhood rabble-rouser Cardell Shelton proudly standing next to his sign. “[Shelton’s] prominently noted for being the town crier, ” says Mitchell. Shelton’s dissent will reach beyond the District line: The exhibit is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and even Europe. “Anywhere that [Anacostia] can get some attention, I relish it,” gushed Shelton. DHCD officials are less enthused: “I was floored,” says Pamela Mitchell, a DHCD spokesperson.
Green Acres A new study by Public Campaign lists nine District ZIP codes among the top 100 in national political contributions. Leading D.C. with $2,817,598 in contributions and 1,320 donors during the last electoral cycle was 20008, which includes Cleveland Park. The ZIP code ranked fifth in the nationone spot above Georgetown’s 20007, where 1,285 people kicked in $2,754,789. Not all D.C. neighbors exploited their First Amendment right to financial speech: According to the Center for Responsive Politics, ZIP code 20019, which includes the far Northeast neighborhood of Deanwood, boasted only $3,750 and nine contributors. In Ward 8’s 20032, two corporate soft-money donations buttressed $3,425 from seven locals. But the least generous neighborhood was definitely 20317, the ZIP code for the Old Soldiers’ Home: Three aging warriors gave $1,870, all to Republicans.
Rails to Trails Since the cost of actually bringing Metrorail to underserved parts of town runs in the hundreds of millions, D.C. long ago settled for a cheaper solution: renaming stations to make it look as if distant neighborhoods are serviced. Hence the Red Line’s Tenleytown-AU station, whose name is unencumbered by its considerable distance from the school’s main campus. Now Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham is hoping to use the same trick to lure Metro riders into his ward. Grahamwho joined Metro’s board of directors in Januarywants Adams Morgan’s name added to the Woodley Park-Zoo station. Metro spokesperson Cheryl Johnson says that Graham’s idea is being given serious consideration. Graham estimates the name change would cost $40,000.
Crossing Guards Two years ago, Earline Budd got turned away from Lorton Prison’s visiting hours (“Lady’s Man,” 8/1/97). Dressed in a tan ensemble and pumps, Budd appeared a model visitoruntil guards noticed on her ID that she was a man. Because prison policy prohibited cross-dressed visitors, they denied Budd entry. Budd filed a complaint with the D.C. Department of Human Rights. This month, D.C. formally changed the prison visitors’ dress code: Signs at both Lorton and the D.C. Jail no longer explicitly block cross-dressers, and instead say, “Visitors will not be permitted to visit whose identity cannot be ascertained by the identification presented.” Budd, however, says the new language is so vague that guards could continue to discriminate. “It’s questionable, because my ID does say Earl Budd, but I’m in female attire,” she notes. Corrections spokesperson Darryl J. Madden argues that the policy is “gender-neutral” and “self-evident.” “We are very comfortable with the wording of our policy,” he says. Budd is not convinced and awaits word on her human rights complaint.
Reporting by Laura Lang, Nefretiti Makenta, Alexandra Phanor, Amanda Ripley, and Michael Schaffer.
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