For years, residents of Mount Pleasant have wrung their hands about McKenna’s Wagon, a soup kitchen on wheels sponsored by Martha’s Table, which has stopped each night at the small park at the intersection of Columbia Road and 16th Street. Neighbors have always prefaced their remarks about McKenna’s by saying that they appreciated the service the truck provided, but they objected to the unruly crowds and loads of trash that came along with it. Last year, neighbors circulated a petition to have the wagon moved. “They wanted to reclaim the park, sit in it with their kids,” says Linda Kaufman, director of Neighbors Consejo, a homeless advocacy group. But in a move that seems to meet the needs of all the park’s various constituencies, Neighbors Consejo convinced two local churches to move the program into their basements and corralled many petition signers into volunteering for duty. “I got a letter asking, would you contribute some money and some time,” says John Prentice, who lives across the street from the park and volunteered the first night McKenna’s moved indoors this past Monday. “It said to me, put your money where your mouth is. I did.”
Touchy-Feely “I feel good spiritually, physically, emotionally. A guy even said to me in the hallway, ‘You look pretty good, too’….It’s all right that a guy says that to another guy.”Mayor Marion Barry, speaking at a luncheon for D.C. Office of Personnel employees.
Discounting the Opposition Ever since Palisades residents began boycotting the CVS housed in the former MacArthur Theater, they’ve been looking for signs that the drug store giant is feeling the heat. But CVS hasn’t broken a sweatuntil now. Boycotters’ mailboxes have filled up recently with coupons promising a whopping $15 off their next prescription, redeemable only at the MacArthur Boulevard CVS. Fred McGrail, a spokesperson for the company, denies that the discount strategy is an act of desperation. “Prescription customers have habits, and it requires a fairly significant change to fill prescriptions at a new store,” he says. Boycott supporters, though, see before them a textbook example of predatory pricing. “No doubt,” says Roy Goldstone, owner of MacArthur Care Drugs, a locally owned competitor. “They virtually never send out direct mail advertising, and they’ve already done it twice in this neighborhood.” It just might work, too. Goldstone says he can’t match the CVS discount for prescriptions, but he will meet all other CVS prices.
Eleven Angry ANCs Commissioners of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1B barely escaped turning into pumpkins at last month’s meeting after being deadlocked on a vote to elect a new chair. The 11 assembled commissioners divided their loyalties evenly between incumbent Lawrence Guyot and his opponent, Tom Porter, with one commissioner choosing to abstain. Guyot, eager to maintain his throne, held the group hostage and announced that no new business would be addressed until the tie was broken. Commissioners sat on their hands for hours. Despite pleas to open the floor to new nominations, Guyot remained a stickler for Robert’s Rules and forced a showdown. “It went through a whole, whole, whole lot of rounds. We all lost track,” reports Tom Coumaris, a 1B commissioner. The stalemate eventually ended when the one abstaining voter gave in because she had an issue she wanted addressed that night. She cast the deciding vote for Guyot. “I’ve talked to a lot of parliamentarians, and they say they’ve never heard of anything like this,” says Coumaris. “It’s the most high-pressure tactic I can imagine.”
Last Call Off-duty D.C. cops and hack journalists in search of police sources will have to find a new watering hole at which to swap stories. Citing dwindling business in the Brightwood neighborhood, Caffney’s Emerald Isle Room closed its doors last month. “There’s no business here to be had,” said Robert Parrucci, a retired Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer who owned the bar for the past three years. “[I]t’s been like the fall of Saigon since I closed….If I do open up again, it won’t be around here.”
Reporting by Laura Lang, Michael Schaffer, Elissa Silverman, and Erik Wemple.
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