City Paper is not for tourists
In response to Bill Duggan’s personal attack on myself and several others (The Mail, 6/26), I am forced to respond.
I would like to clarify several issues that were unclear both in the original article (“The Lady’s a Tramp,” 6/12) and Mr. Duggan’s tirade.
I am the chair of ANC 1C’s Zoning and Public Permits Committee. The role of the committee is to respond to neighborhood concerns; identify violations of D.C. zoning, permitting, and regulatory matters; and search for solutions to these problems. The committee’s work is not glamorouswe deal with the details of governance: zoning variances, license renewals, parking signs, etc. While no one is claiming that these issues supersede discussions of the plight of the Tibetans of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, plenty of people believe they are important to the quality of life in the city, and worthy of discussion and action.
After several complaints from neighbors (both male and female) about the illegal Madam’s Organ advertisement, the committee put the matter on our agenda in order to find a solution to the problem. Our first step was to try to speak with Mr. Duggan to ask him to take down the billboard. Fellow ANC commissioners and I made several attempts to meet with Mr. Duggan to discuss possible informal solutions, but he was not available. We subsequently reported the advertisement to D.C. Regulatory Affairs as an illegal billboard. The D.C. sign code does indeed deal with such arcane matters as the allowable dimensions, number of allowable colors, suitable placements, and types of allowable lighting. These billboard laws exist because D.C. lawmakers recognize that billboards are a negative intrusion and citizens should not be forced to look at huge Ronald McDonalds, Joe Camels, and other unwanted commercial messages when on the public streets.
I agree with Mr. Duggan: Too much has been made of this issue. Instead of dealing with the substantive issues, Mr. Duggan has turned the matter into a silly name-calling game and attempted to muddy the waters in order to preserve his advertisement. Mr. Duggan has the power to put the matter to rest by simply complying with D.C. law and taking down his illegal billboard.
Let’s put this piece of comic street theater behind us and move on to more substantive matters.