Organizers of this year’s “Smoke In,” a hemp rally and concert, at the Lincoln Memorial July Fourth, had some enforcement issues of their own. During the festivities, two concertgoers spotted a young man rifling through a woman’s purse, stuffing its contents into his pocket. They promptly alerted Smoke In music coordinator Tim Walther, who confronted the bandit. The man had a Spice Girls collectors’ card and some stickers in his pockets and attempted to hide a crisp $100 bill in his hands. Walther concluded he had two choices: turn the man in to the police or have him confess publicly to the crowd. Choosing the Hawthornian path, Walther noted, “Public humiliation is sometimes a good thing.” But the accused chose not to accept the Scarlet Letter. While Walther led concertgoers in a chant of “No room for thieves!” to begin what he proposed as a “peaceful” presentation of the criminal, the would-be repenter started flailing his arms. He turned to flee, only to run into a plainclothes police officer, who quickly escorted him away.

All Politics Is Local Last Tuesday morning, Ward 1 Councilmember Frank Smith engaged in a little primary election politicking with a LeDroit Park neighbor. “How long have you lived here?” Smith asked Christine Henry, who was standing in front of her home on the 400 block of T Street NW. Henry responded that she had lived there just shy of a year. Smith introduced himself and then spotted a poster for Jim Graham—Smith’s Ward 1 rival—in Henry’s window. “So you’ve lived here a year, and you think that you know who to vote for?” Smith asked.

Missing the Bus Though D.C. public schools (DCPS) officials insist that this year’s expanded summer school program is running smoothly, parents with children in special-education programs have experienced major bumps. Summer school enrollment notices went out as late as June 22—with a deadline for response by June 5. In addition, the school system promised to provide busing for many of the 2600 special-education students, but the buses didn’t materialize on the first day. At least 30 special-ed students missed the first two weeks of the six-week course due to a lack of transportation, says Beth Goodman, a lawyer representing special-ed students in a lawsuit against DCPS. “We aren’t having any overriding problems,” insists Joyce Armstrong, DCPS director of planning and assessment. That depends on who you ask. One third-grader had to switch schools twice, and DCPS officials failed to let his mother know of his new whereabouts, adds Goodman. The boy ended up being escorted home by a security guard. The following day, he was transferred a third time.

Fighting Words The Patio, a Capitol Hill bar and grill, is being sued for $110,000 for an event that allegedly took place the evening of May 10, 1996. A bar brawl? A bad burger? Neither. National Satellite Sports claims that the bar owners showed a pirated pay-per-view boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Bobby Czyz on the bar’s TV screens. “We have never even shown a fight in this bar,” insists Patio founder Mickey Pultz. “I don’t even know what descrambling is.” Pultz has produced 10 affidavits from customers saying that no fight was aired in the bar that evening. “They are trying to intimidate me, yes,” argues Pultz. Lawyers representing National Satellite Sports failed to return calls.

Trashy Ideas When the topic of litter came up at a meeting of Mount Pleasant Main Street—a coalition of business, neighborhood, and historical associations—new neighbor Marika Torok proudly offered up her old neighborhood’s solution. “A ‘Yard of the Year’ contest,” she piped up. Put on by the Beautification Commission of Alexandria, the contest judges the tidiness of lawns and upkeep of hedges. It’s very competitive, Torok noted. Despite some obvious differences between the two communities, Torok swore the competition could work in Mount Pleasant. “The contest could instill pride in people here,” she said, admitting it might have to be renamed “Yard of the Month,” to meet the more pressing needs of Mount Pleasant. “Maybe we could have a litter patrol, too,” she added.

Reporting by Pete Morelewicz, Angela

Morgenstern, Paula Park, Elissa Silverman, and Frappa Stout.

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