When Adams Morgan resident Steffan DeClue cast his vote for an advisory neighborhood commissioner on Election Day, he found his civic duty had already been done. “When I got to the ANC section, the one woman’s name was already punched,” says DeClue. Even though the candidate ran unopposed, DeClue didn’t want the tiny vestiges of democratic privilege available to District voters wrested from him. He alerted a poll worker at the Marie Reed Learning Center, who invalidated the faulty ballot and gave him a clean one. And according to DeClue, the worker told him that he wasn’t the only victim of a pre-punched ballot. D.C. Board of Elections officials expressed surprise at DeClue’s allegation, though. “The Board has no record of a pre-punched ballot irregularity occurring at that precinct on Election Day,” says Bill O’Field, a spokesman for the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. O’Field suggests that demonstration ballotsblank sheets used to test the voting machinesmight have been left behind in one of the booths. But blank ballots are, of course, blank.
Media Property “I do not belong to this group called ‘the news media.’ I belong to Katharine Graham and Len Downie’s Washington Post.”Post Associate Editor Robert Kaiser at a Council for Court Excellence panel discussion on media ethics last Wednesday.
Scenic Route Harried commuters have long viewed Western Avenue as an autobahn linking the three main conduitsMassachusetts, Wisconsin, and Connecticut Avenuesbetween D.C. and Montgomery County. Folks who reside along the four-lane thoroughfare, however, see something quite different: a scenic byway. The Western Avenue Citizens Association is seeking official scenic byway status for its namesake, a designation reserved for roads with one or more “outstanding ‘intrinsic’ qualities: scenic, historic, natural, cultural, recreational, or archaeological,” according to a Department of Public Works pamphlet. Avenue boosters have no evidence of Cenozoic fossils amongst the nondescript brick colonials that line the route, but they insist their nominee meets other criteria. “We have Victorian houses going back to the 1890s,” says advisory neighborhood commissioner Mike Brown. While hundreds of other city streets share Western’s Victorian distinctiveness, they don’t have the sleeper that may cinch things for the Northwest road: Boundary Park, a green space that’s home to “one of the original markers from when they surveyed the city,” according to citizens association president Lucia Leith. Now if that doesn’t bowl over the technical evaluation committee, maybe the neo-classical Geico building near the corner of Wisconsin and Western Avenues NW will.
Blue Notes D.C. residents might not sing the praises of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), but it might attract an international following for other talents. This week, “The Ambassadors of Goodwill,” a D.C. police choir composed of members from various law enforcement divisions, will tour Paris, France. (Funding for the trip did not come from MPD coffers.) “In traveling to France, the group will serve to emphasize the fact that music is the international language,” notes a department press release. Maybe their francophone audience can share some crime-solving tips in return.
Standing Up for Equality It’s not entirely uncommon for line-weary women who have an urgent need for relief to duck into a stall in the frustratingly empty men’s room. But one woman at Alibi’s nightclub on U Street NW last Thursday night took restroom empowerment one step further: A man exiting his stall was stunned to see a womanskirt hiked up and back to the wallusing the urinal.
All Votes Barred D.C. residents interested in finding out what their neighbors think about Initiative 59, which would legalize medical marijuana, might want to drop a line to Representative Bob Barr, 1130 Longworth Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 or e-mail him at email@example.com. Barr, you may remember, sponsored a congressional amendment that bans the District from spending any money to tally votes on the initiative. Barr also slimed the District with H.R.2625, which renamed National Airport the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Reporting by Elizabeth Murdock, Amanda Ripley, Elissa Silverman, Jake Tapper, and Erik Wemple.
Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.