Razing Hopes After Fresh Fields and other grocers declined to set up shop at the former Children’s Hospital site, project developer Donatelli & Klein kept the neighborhood content by promising the next best thing: a condominium complex worthy of a focaccia-eating clientele. To convince city economic-development officials, Donatelli & Klein lassoed prominent local builder Art Linde and architect Eric Colbert into the project. Just after the proposal cleared approvals, Linde and Colbert backed out of the 13th and V Streets NW project. (Both parties declined comment on the matter.) “We were told that Art Linde, Eric Colbert, and Donatelli & Klein had irreconcilable differences,” says Buck Clarke, president of the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association. The authorities had better reconcile something before the Dec. 4 deadline for disposing of the city-owned property. Whatever happens, neighborhood types are starting to note resemblances between the Children’s Hospital plan and the long-stalled project to develop the Thompson’s Dairy site a block away. “If Donatelli & Klein shows up with Joe’s Building and Storage and ‘Oh, we build a couple houses, too,’ I’ll be upset,” says Cardozo-Shaw activist Glenn Melcher.

Taking the Initiative Jimmy Carter has made a post-White House career out of preventing Third World dictators from nullifying the will of the people at the ballot box. That sort of experience, reasons Stand Up For Democracy Coalition leader Tim Cooper, has prepared Carter well for an assignment in this country’s very own Banana Republic, Washington, D.C. The strongman here is Bob Barr, the Georgia congressman who slipped a rider into the D.C. appropriations bill barring election officials from releasing the results of the city’s medical-marijuana initiative. “President Carter has won high regard in the international community for election monitoring in countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and China,” says Cooper. “While he looks to guarantee rights abroad, we hope he’ll do the same thing in the U.S.” No word yet from Jimmy.

Everyone Is Special City residents may not expect Mayor-Elect Anthony Williams to fill them with passion. They do, however, expect the former chief financial officer to handle basic logic and grade-school arithmetic. Williams’ transition team recently created a committee on “special constituencies,” which consists of leaders representing Latinos, Asians, Africans, women, seniors, and people with disabilities. “When you add together the numbers from all these groups, we are the city,” says one Special Constituencies Team member.

Marion Math While the city’s premier investigators are pursuing allegations that Mayor Marion Barry’s underlings funneled taxpayer funds to his October tribute, Ward 8 sleuth Sandra Seegars is seeking the truth on a less contemporary case against the mayor. Long before Seegars became Barry’s fiercest antagonist, she and two friends—who had created a three-member social club named “SASSE with Class”—held a fundraiser for their group with Barry as the featured speaker. Seegars says the event produced a total of $157 in contributions for Barry’s 1994 mayoral run. In a subsequent campaign-finance disclosure, however, the Barry campaign claimed $1,757 in donations from SASSE with Class—raising Seegars’ suspicion that the campaign was hiding improper contributions. On Nov. 17, the Board of Elections dismissed Seegars’ complaint against the campaign. “They’re looking out for Barry,” says Seegars.

Surfing the Network Web diva Jennifer Ringley, whose L Street NW bedroom is photographed and beamed to an international audience via JenniCam.com (“Voyeur Eyes Only,” 8/29/97), made her professional acting debut Nov. 12 on the CBS program Diagnosis Murder. In the episode, Ringley played a JenniCam-type Web entrepreneur who gets murdered. “A lot of people wrote e-mail to say they were offended by the way the show portrays computer users in general and Web-cam people specifically,” she says. Ringley adds that she won’t desert her Web gig for Tinseltown anytime soon. “I absolutely cannot fake being stabbed in the back,” Ringley writes. “What I did think I did a good job of was sitting at the table, reading and eating tortilla chips….Some things just come naturally!”

Reporting by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 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.