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Adams Morgan residents first noticed something funny about Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Lt. Michael Smith when he started passing out cards bearing his beeper number. Then, burgled neighborslong accustomed to waiting out five or six loads of laundry before seeing a copfound Smith responding before they could add bleach. Things really got out of hand when Smith, armed with a nail gun, personally boarded up several Columbia Heights crack houses. He also helped residents rid their streets of burned-out cars and implored judges to send juveniles offenders to community-service programs. Now, Adams Morgan community leaders say MPD officials, who looked like slackers next to Smith, have conspired to make him pay for his good deeds with a recent transfer to the graveyard shift in Shaw. While the department insists Smith’s transfer was routine, 3rd District Lt. Michael Gallahan says Smith was out of line. “[He] went out there with an agenda to develop…a fan club,” explains Gallahan. “Mike would respond to every call he got. But community policing is about making residents aware of the resources out there to help themselves. A lot of those people [in Adams Morgan] need to get off their duffs and take care of their own business.”
Unseated Two Dupont Circle deli owners have found themselves in something of a quandary: District regulations prohibit delis from having seats in customer areas because, the reasoning goes, a deli with seats is in fact a restaurant, and restaurants are covered by another set of regs. But D.C. regulations also require delis to provide one seat for each employee working a shifta tight squeeze for tiny eateries, says Daniel Booth, the owner of Prego 2 Go on P Street. Booth says he was recently fined $1,000 for having five seats at a counter for employees to rest their weary bones. He removed the seats and is fighting the fine. Meanwhile, Kevin Sheridan, owner of Dupont Market on 18th Street, says he could only fit his requisite three employee stools in the corner of his powder room-size shop. Since the stools were within reach of customers, an inspector threatened Sheridan with the $1,000 fine. Sheridan says the only other space he has for seats is next to the john or in the basement. “I’m going to have the seatsin the storeroom,” says Sheridan. “But who wants to take their break in the basement?”
School Daze With few success stories to tout in the city’s schools, Superintendent Franklin Smith has frequently hyped the school system’s Potential National Merit Scholars program to the media. When the program was launched in 1988, not a single D.C. public-school student placed as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist. Since then, the schools have produced 35 semifinalists, 20 of them graduates of the program, which is largely the brainchild of Eugene Williams, director of the system’s Academic Enhancement Program. But on Aug. 9, the same day Smith praised Williams in front of a roomful of students and parents, Williams was effectively terminated. Smith told Williams the pink slip was a mistake and that he would be allowed to stay on. But to date, Williams has not been reinstated, and he says the program is quickly deteriorating. “If [Smith] knew enough about the program or really cared about the program, he wouldn’t have cut my position,” Williams says. Smith did not return calls for comment. Meanwhile, the merit program is hobbling along on a $25,000 grant from Fannie Mae, which Williams secured.