City Paper is not for tourists
For those who question the creativity and bold leadership of the D.C. Council, we offer up Bill 12-538, the “Official Dinosaur Designation Act of 1998.” Sponsored by Ward 7 Councilmember Kevin Chavous and co-sponsored by Carol Schwartz, Jack Evans, Linda Cropp, and Frank Smith, the bill declares “Capitalsaurus,” whose bones were found at 1st and F Streets SE one hundred years ago, the official dinosaur of the District of Columbia. Huhwe thought that honor might go to long-standing statehood activist and At-Large Councilmember Hilda H.M. Mason. Sign up early to snag yourself a spot on the public hearing speaker’s list.
Trashing Initiative When members of the group Single Volunteers of D.C. converged on Rock Creek Park two weekends ago armed with rakes and trash bags (and, we imagine, a hope they might finally meet that special someone), a uniformed National Park Service ranger demanded to see their permit. “I had no idea that you needed a permit to pick up trash,” says Dana Kressierer, a leader of the group. Kressierer says that the ranger eventually allowed the group to continue its cleanup, but only after listening to a 10-minute lecture and a warning that it shouldn’t commit random acts of kindness without the proper paperwork. Cindy Cox, assistant superintendent of Rock Creek Park, says the incident was something of a misunderstanding. The Park Service doesn’t require permits, but it does ask do-gooders to complete a one-page form to protect the park against liability. “I wonder if the people who left all this trash to begin with were given such a hard time,” remarked Kressierer.
One If By Chappaquiddick The scene: previews before a Sunday-afternoon screening of Boston-boy flick Good Will Hunting at the Cineplex Odeon Dupont Circle. U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) watches a trailer for Swept From the Sea, a frothy epic about a maiden who falls in love with a shipwrecked young rogue. Kennedy leans over and says to his wife, “I think I’ll let you go see that one with Pam.”
911 Is No Joke Two Sunday evenings ago, Brian VanFleet was walking in front of JR’s bar on 17th Street when a man accosted him and demanded his wallet, according to a story first reported in the Washington Blade. “He grabbed me and started yelling, ‘Give me your wallet, you fucking faggot,’” VanFleet recalls. After onlookers yanked the mugger away from him, VanFleet ran inside JR’s and asked the bartender to call the cops. The bartender refused, citing a long-standing company policy not to call 911 unless someone is clearly in need of immediate assistance. VanFleet warned the bartender that the mugger would soon target another victim, andsurprise, surprisehe did. JR’s owner Eric Little stands by his policy, though, explaining that Dupont Circle activists have used police calls from the bar in the past as a weapon against JR’s expansion. “We’re literally backed up against the wall,” Little claims. “It’s a tragedy that we are fearing for the livelihood of our business.” Yeah, and it’s a real comedy when someone gets mugged outside your door and you can’t make so much as a phone call on his behalf.
Taking a Fence After Mount Pleasant resident Greg Nicklas erected gates to close off a problem-prone alley next to his house last summer (“Gate Expectations,” 6/13/97), some of his neighbors vigorously objected to the privatization of public space. Two months ago, an anonymous protester plastered a poster-size copy of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Fences,” in both English and Spanish, on one of the gates. Frost writes, “…Before I built a wall I’d ask to know/What I was walling in or walling out,/And to whom I was like to give offense./Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,/That wants it down.” Although no one has been able to pinpoint the guerrilla pundit, some neighbors point fingers at the Community Church of Christ, whose building lies across the alley. According to church member Doug Huron, the posting was “not any organized activity of our church.” But he added, “I don’t mean to be disingenuous with you, but if I did know something I wouldn’t say anything.”
Reporting by Ginger Eckert, Laura Lang, Amanda Ripley, and Jamal Watson.
Please send your City Desk tips to Elissa Silverman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 332-2100 and ask for my voice mail.