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There’s no hard living at George Washington University (GW), where it’s a running joke that prospective students tour all the schools in D.C. and pick GW for its converted-apartment dorms. No dorms have communal bathrooms, one has leather couches, and another has cable TV. But a band of GW’s socially aware set abandoned their luxury pads last weekend for the school’s annual Sleepout for the Homeless. When the students gathered at the H Street terrace of the Marvin Center, they found out what it’s really like to be homeless. The sky opened up and the activists headed for cover, fleeing the rain for the student union’s cozy fifth floor. Even with all the comforts of couches, sodas, snacks, and entertainment, attendance at the all-nighter plummeted from 65 to 25. To the students’ credit, the Sleepout managed to raise $1,000 for homeless shelter Miriam’s Kitchen, “despite being driven indoors,” reports the Hatchet, GW’s student newspaper, without a trace of irony. Building management could not be reached for comment about whether the city’s real homeless will be welcome to camp out on the fifth floor from now on.
Staging press conferences and appearances across the city, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Larry Soulsby is keeping busy in his quest to prove the efficacy of his zero-tolerance anti-crime strategy. One audience Soulsby might want to avoid, however, is Congress. As first reported by Roll Call, Capitol Hill burglars have hit the residences of at least three congressmen since January. Among the victims was Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who lost a TV set, a small boombox, and a few black-and-white drawings. Later the same week, a burglar raided the Capitol Hill Suites hotel room of freshman Rep. Edward Pease (R-Ind.). Pease, who lived in rural Indiana until his November election win, says the thief swiped his casual clothes, several soft drinks, and some prepackaged sandwiches. “We don’t even lock our doors in Indiana,” reports Brian Kerns, Pease’s deputy chief of staff. “Obviously, the congressman does now.” Pease can sleep a bit easier now, since MPD has nabbed a suspect in one of the break-ins. The alleged intruder has confessed to over 30 burglaries, according to Capt. William McManus. Meanwhile, the third victimized lawmaker refuses to be identified. Home rule advocates can only hope he doesn’t happen to chair any District subcommittees.
When irate D.C. cabbies threatened to organize a street-level recall of Mayor Marion Barry in December 1996, a little personal intervention by Hizzoner helped smooth things over. No amount of mayoral charm, however, will keep D.C. hacks off Barry’s back now. Earlier this month, the Barry-appointed D.C. Taxicab Commission approved the same reform that got cabbies up in arms last yearrequiring drivers to retire vehicles older than six years. Fare meters are likely next. According to Louis Richardson, vice chairman of D.C. Professional Taxi Drivers Inc., Barry promised protection from these changes in 1996. Warns Richardson: “Every cabdriver in the city will have a petition and we’ll take the names and addresses of every registered voter of D.C. who gets in taxicabs.” They need about 34,000 signatures to force a special election, but no sweet talk will deter them this time. “We have no more deal with Marion,” Richardson says. “He’s got to go.”