City Paper is not for tourists
The owners of D.J.’s Fastbreak restaurant in Foggy Bottom are apparently sick of having their forks filched by local street punks. But last week they chose the wrong guy to scapegoat. Lee Saunders Jr., a black high-school student at the nearby School Without Walls, says the Asian owner grabbed and threatened him after the restaurateur’s wife accused him of stealing plastic forks “like you people always do.” Turns out that after school Saunders interns for the PR firm Fingerhut Powers Smith & Associates. Recognizing an opportunity for aggressive news management, he and his classmates launched a two-day protest, passing out fliers discouraging patronage of the restaurant. Within days, D.J.’s owner agreed not only to apologize to the entire student body but also to sponsor a $500 annual scholarship. “It’s all over,” the store owner says. “It was a small incident. It was no problem.” But it’s not over for Saunders, who distributed a self-congratulatory press release to area news media courtesy of Fingerhut. As for why he’d be accused of stealing forks, Saunders has no idea: “I probably have silverware at home worth more than their store.”
For years the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board shrugged off community complaints about violent and illegal activities in and around the Ibex Club on Georgia Avenue NW. But after Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer Brian Gibson was killed in front of the Ibex earlier this year, the ABC Board promised to shut the club down for good. Well, nearly two months later, events have overtaken the rapid-response board. Zina Greene, the Ibex’s landlord, has gotten a judgment against the club in D.C. Landlord/Tenant Court and is arranging for an eviction by the U.S. Marshal Service. Greene had been trying for months to get the club out of her building, and had complained to the ABC Board long before Gibson was killed. When the Ibex failed to pay its rent by the fifth of this month, Greene immediately asked the court to allow their eviction, which it did. “They’re dead, and it wasn’t the ABC that killed them,” says Greene. “[The board members] follow such arcane procedures. Before, if anyone had told me the courts would be faster, I’d have been surprised.” The ABC Board held a hearing on the club’s license Wednesday, but Greenewho is busy finding a new tenantdidn’t bother showing up.
When D.C. cops tout their new zero-tolerance war on crime, they generally talk of ridding the streets of winos, loiterers, and other unsavory characters. But MPD’s latest crackdown targets a new criminal element: bicyclists. Police have stepped up enforcement of a city ordinance requiring all District bike riders, recreational or otherwise, to register their bikes within two weeks of purchase. Earlier this month, MPD officers explained the law to a courier from Prince George’s County’s City Express after pulling him over for riding on a downtown sidewalk and confiscating his unregistered bike. After he registered the bike and paid a $5 fine, he was back in the saddle, according to Art Edwards, personnel manager for City Express. Edwards says the courier company was completely in the dark about the crackdown, but has since advised its messengers to register their two-wheeled vehicles. MPD Lt. James Cullen insists the department is not out to get bike couriers. “We’re out there trying to make neighborhoods safer,” Cullen says. “These people need to be in compliance with the law.”