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Despite his arty-sounding title, the Architect of the Capitol does not, in fact, spend all his hours contemplating dome skylights and balcony extensions. He is a power player who wields near-absolute control over federal construction projects on Capitol Hill. In the past, the architect has enraged Hill residents by plunging into construction without bothering to send around a neighborly note, so D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton inserted a clause into this summer’s D.C. rescue package requiring the architect to give 60 days notice to city officials on any construction. The provision also gave residents the opportunity to comment on proposed projects. But the Architect of the Capitol, Alan Hantman, was apparently unhappy with Norton’s request, according to the Hill newspaper, and—surprise—the provision was nowhere in sight in the D.C. budget package signed into law last month. Although the architect’s office denies having lobbied for the repeal, Norton says “the Architect clearly initiated it” and vows she’ll try to reinsert the provision next session.
Lords of Discipline “If the
District did half the job prosecuting crooks
I catch that they did on me—busting my balls for this procedural bullshit—this city would be a much, much safer place.”—a D.C. cop having a beer at Caffney’s on
Dividing Opposition As if the convention center opposition didn’t already face long odds, Shaw Coalition co-founders Beth Solomon and ANC Commissioner Leroy Thorpe are now going through a very public parting of ways. Solomon isn’t commenting, but Thorpe attributes the schism to what he alleges are her numerous ethical lapses, like failing to inform him of coalition meetings, quoting him in press releases without consulting him, and otherwise hogging the spotlight. “I resented the fact that she paraded herself as the main contact person in this African-American community,” says Thorpe. “She got a little publicity, and it went to her head.” Over the past week, Thorpe has been calling convention center opponents and asking them to cease cooperating with Solomon. “He said, ‘[She’s] just going to use you,’” activist Sandra Seegars says. “I told him, ‘Leroy, you’re just too black for me.’”
State’s Rights Though members of the Wizards seem to have embraced their move back to the city, their counterparts on ice have taken to the new digs more reluctantly. At the Capitals’ debut last Friday night, the team’s public address announcer seemed not to have taken notice of the team’s change in jurisdiction. Why shouldn’t fans throw items onto the ice during the game? “Maryland law,” the announcer sternly warned, prohibits it.
The Breakfast Club “Those of you who have moved to Prince George’s County or Arlington, Va., seem to have developed an acute case of amnesia. It wasn’t too many years ago that you were eating oatmeal in Anacostia.”—the Rev. Jamal Bryant, Washington Area NAACP, speaking at a Congress of National Black Churches town hall meeting on restoring D.C. democracy.
House Peeking Participants in last Sunday’s Logan Circle House Tour had the opportunity not only to peek but to buy. Included in the package of homes were No.1 and No.2 Logan Circle, the two halves of the Munster-style mansion that has been an eyesore in the neighborhood for decades. Originally built by Alfred B. Mullet in 1877, the two residences have served as everything from a dance studio to an annex of the Washington Sanitarium. In 1971, Louis and Carolyn Kleiman, two love-struck newlyweds, purchased the property, but the decaying houses outlasted the couple’s marriage. Until recently, the property was embroiled in a bitter custody battle between the two would-be Bob Vilas ( see “A House Divided,” 12/22/95). The architectural firm P.N. Hoffman has now taken up the mantle (and cleaned a few as well), subdividing the houses into eight condominium units. And the Pardoe realty team was out in force Sunday afternoon to sell them to impulse buyers. “I’m glad they’re being restored,” says neighborhood resident Brian Fox. “It’s just unfortunate it has to be condos.”
Reporting by Dan Avery, David Carr, Amanda Ripley, Michael Schaffer, and Erik Wemple.