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On the stump, Ward 1 D.C. Council Umoja Party candidate Nik Eames touts his hours engaged in community service. But not all of them are exactly voluntary. After Columbia Heights advisory neighborhood commissioner Tom Coumaris reported to police that fellow commissioner Eames had threatened to “bash his fucking head in,” a warrant was issued for the arrest of the 25-year-old Howard University student (City Desk, 5/22). Last week, a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney’s office informed Coumaris that Eames had agreed to do 40 hours of community service as penance. Eames says that it will be “no big deal,” since he already mentors kids from a public housing project and talks to senior citizens during his lunch time. “Maybe I should vote for him,” says Coumaris. “At least he’s obligated to do 40 hours of community service. That’s more than [Ward 1 Councilmember] Frank Smith’s done in eight years.”
The Real Tragedy on Capitol Hill On This Week, ABC’s Sunday blabber, Sam Donaldson mentioned to Cokie Roberts that it might be time to keep a closer eye on tourists on Capitol Hill, “because one of these nice-looking people might be nuts.” Roberts’ reply indicated she had spent some long-suffering hours amongst the hoi polloi: “They’re not terribly nice-looking, actually. I have to tell you, there’s a mirror shortage in the country if you look at the tourists in the Capitol these days.”
Leaves of Grass Monterey Park resident Tonya Wright says the grass surrounding her home near Seventh Street and Mississippi Avenue SE has served as the hiding place for more than just snakes. On two occasions in May, Wright says, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers had trouble apprehending suspects who fled into the approximately 5-foot-tall grass next to her town house. Monterey Park was once billed as “the beginning of the future” in Southeast, but since groundbreaking four years ago, only nine of the development’s planned 22 town houses have been built. Department of Public Works official David Anthony says his office posted a “Clean It or Lien It” notice on the property, but owner Philip L. Johnson has not responded. MPD Sergeant Eddie Fowler admits that the field is a popular escape route: “If an individual has a gun or some drugs, they could dispose of it in the grass. In the state that it’s in, we’d never find it.”
Yard Sale Last week, Takoma, D.C., resident George Searles’ love affair with thrift stores came to an abrupt end when U.S. Marshals dumped heaps of his possessions in front of his apartment building at 410 Cedar St. NW. The Minor-Bartlow Partnership, which owns Searles’ building, had given him a 30-day notice to clean out his overstocked apartment or move out. They had even extended the deadline an extra week, and every day that week, a truck had come to cart a load of Searles’ belongings to the dump. But a critical mass remained, and Minor-Bartlow decided to remove the rest themselves, via pink plastic bags, to the great outdoors. Watches, jewelry, and four working television sets were stolen from the sidewalk, but Searles’ flowered chairs and stereo speakers still blocked part of the street. The 75-year-old Searles nonchalantly explains the pack-rat mentality that cost him his apartment: “I never had this stuff when I was younger, and then I found out I could get it for almost nothing,” he says.
Hassle-Free After reports of a mini-riot in the 7th District (“Street Hassle,” 7/17), Commander Winston Robinson has instituted some changes. The trouble began after 7D officers reprimanded a group congregated on Newcomb Street SE for violating the District’s open-container law. The cops were unaware that the group was mourning a family member who had been killed in an accident with a police cruiser earlier that day, and a melee ensued. Initially, Robinson ceased MPD patrols on the block. But after officers objected, Robinson reinstituted patrols and implemented a policy requiring each shift’s watch commander to inform his or her replacement of any significant events. “In this incident we were negligent, since that information was known by certain officials and they didn’t pass it on,” Robinson says.
Reporting by David Carr, Frappa Stout, Jake Tapper, and Eve Tushnet.