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Elephant Droppings A Capitol Heights contractor working on a construction project in Northeast thought it had found a convenient trash-transfer station for its refuse: the empty lots reserved for convention center construction on Eighth Street between M and N Streets NW. Last July, a Department of Public Works employee spotted workers from Grade A Construction dumping approximately 27 truckloads’ worth of garbage, which reportedly included traces of lead and mercury at the site. Convention Center Authority spokesman Tony Robinson says the Environmental Protection Agency has “already been down to take a look.” “While there are traces of metals,” says Robinson, “the site is not contaminated….The stuff that was dumped is not hazardous.” The city fined Grade A and insisted that the company pay for the cleanup, which is under way, according to Robinson. Grade A Construction officials did not return phone calls for comment.

Data’s New Friend The National Air and Space Museum’s “Space and Fiction Film Series” sounds as if it’s boldly headed where not many men have gone before. A recent press release says that on Jan. 15 the museum will screen Star Trek: Fist Contact.

Shakedown Street Given the alleged blackmail scheme by former Larry Soulsby roommate Lt. Jeffrey Stowe, you might think that the owners of the predominantly gay clubs of Southeast D.C. might be wary of men in blue. But area club owners are actually lobbying against legislation proposed by Chief Charles Ramsey that would ban off-duty officers from doing security work at bars and clubs. Patrick Little, general manager of the dance club Tracks—which has employed off-duty cops for nine years—says that D.C.’s finest not only offer better security than other rent-a-cops, but are sorely needed in his area. Even though Tracks and other area clubs draw 10,000 customers on a weekend night, according to Little, only two or three cops patrol the area. Georgetown, he says, draws a slightly smaller crowd, “but has a cop on each corner.”

Programming Change Fans of The D.C. Politics Hour who tune in to watch the program on WHUT/Channel 32 will still find host Kojo Nnamdi—minus “esteemed commentator” Mark Plotkin—holding forth on politics. Nnamdi’s other gig, Evening Exchange, has taken Plotkin’s spot on WHUT’s weekly programming schedule. Even though The D.C. Politics Hour is listed three times under the WHUT column in Sunday newspaper TV guides, the program, heard on the radio at 88.5 FM/WAMU every Friday, hasn’t aired on the tube since fellow PBS station WETA/Channel 26 booted it off the air in November. Since then, WHUT—which used to broadcast the program via WETA’s feed—has suggested that the program move to its studios so that the Howard University-run station can reduce production costs. WAMU gave the proposal a thumbs down. “I think it would be wonderful to [have the show televised],” says WAMU General Manager Kim Hodgson. “But I’m just not willing to turn our entire production upside down to do it.” Co-host Plotkin says, “I would like the show to go on, obviously.”

Ground Floor Divorce When D.C. Council Chair Linda Cropp moves her offices back into the renovated Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, she’s afraid of what she may find on the ground floor. Back whn it struck a deal with developer Conrad Monts, the council agreed to share office space with other tenants, but insisted on maintaining the District’s symbolic pre-eminence in the building. “It was represented to the council that we’d be on the ground, first, and fifth floors,” says Cropp, explaining that in addition to symbolic considerations, the council needs the space. Monts, however, may now be backsliding on at least part of the territory. “He certainly doesn’t seem to be moving towards having the ground floor for the council,” says Cropp. The council chair, of course, has more power over her contractor than does the average homeowner: She will use her subpoena power for hearings next week and has threatened litigation. Either way, the Wilson Building won’t make its planned January re-opening; look for it to open sometime in the spring, says Cropp.

Reporting by Nefretiti Makenta, Michael Schaffer, Elissa Silverman, and Jake Tapper.

Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at esilverman@washcp.com or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.