Cabbies circulating petitions to recall Mayor Marion Barry are merely exercising their precious rights under D.C. election law, by which any popularly elected leader can also be popularly unelected. Those democratic protections, however, don’t transfer so well to the unelected control board and emergency school board of trustees. Nevertheless, residents fuming about the trustees’ decision to close 11 District schools have boarded the recall bandwagon, says Susan Gushue, member of a new coalition of peeved parents called D.C. Parents and Community for Education (PACE). Calling for the immediate resignation of schools chief Gen. Julius Becton and facilities czar Gen. Charles Williams, PACE’s petition accuses the generals of showing “arrogance and open contempt for the democratic process and the collective will of the citizens of the District.” So far, the petition has garnered barely two dozen signatures, reports PACE member Sheila Galagan. A letter she and Gushue sent to trustees Chairman Bruce MacLaury criticizing the handling of the closings has also had little effect. Says Galagan: “The only contact we got was a phone call from Mrs. MacLaury saying, ‘[Bruce] can’t do anything. He’s got no power.’”
Although the average D.C. cyclist rides in fear of maniacal D.C. drivers, a study released last week says the Washington region is the seventh-safest place in the country for bikers. The study, conducted by a group of environmental and bicycle lobbyists, reports that an average of just six cyclists per year met their makers on area roads between 1986 and ’95. “It’s all the bike paths around here,” reckons Pat Forgey, press secretary for Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who unveiled the report and dutifully pedals to work each day. The paths “keep people away from cars,” Forgey says. But cars, sadly, are not D.C. bikers’ biggest enemy. Another recent surveythis one by Kryptonite, manufacturer of the ubiquitous U-lockstagged D.C. “one of the worst bike-theft cities” in the U.S., based on customer reports of stolen bicycles. The District ranked No. 5 among the top ripoff cities last year, up from its No. 7 position two years ago. Blumenauer’s Trek 730, however, is probably out of harm’s way. After a brief commute from his Capitol Hill home each day, the lawmaker cloisters his wheels in his Longworth office.
First the Dupont Circle Burrito Brothers had to weather competition from the Burro and Wrapworks, trendy joints sparking a wave of yuppie-burrito hysteria in the Northwest. Now the much-loved local taco house is up against the suits at Riggs Bank. In April, the bank, which sits regally by the northern Connecticut Avenue spoke of the circle, gave 90 days notice to Burrito Brothers, Marvelous Market, Kemp Mill Music, and Beadazzled. Riggs wants to expand into an international banking center to better serve the diplomat crowd. Although the bank has been vying for the space for seven years, execs just recently proposed a smaller expansion that appeased community groups. But Beadazzled co-owner Erik deWidt says, “This couldn’t come at a worst time,” as there are few, if any, vacancies on Connecticut Avenue. All the tenants say the landlord has been cordial, but 90 days is not enough time to relocate a business. Burrito Brothers is already looking for new space, but owners say they don’t plan to abandon the Dupont scene anytime soon.