No one outside 1 Judiciary Square is taking Mayor Marion Barry’s recent proposal to rename 7th Street NW Georgia Avenue seriously, judging from a D.C. Council hearing on the proposal. The proposal is thus far the only discernible element of Barry’s “revitalization plan” for Georgia Avenue. In testimony before Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas’ Committee on Public Works, Barry spokesman Dwight Reeves said changing 7th Street to Georgia Avenue would create “one grand avenue” encompassing the MCI Arena and spinoff development on 7th Street and the boarded-up businesses along the current Georgia Avenue. But his spiel didn’t sway community activists or historic preservationists, who harped on the plan’s frivolous costs: changing street signs, maps, directories, and residential and business addresses. Reeves provided no cost estimates for the name change, but he did suggest that the city could bridge its infamous racial divide by eliminating 7th Street, where, “In 1904, four black men were lynched in the wharf area,” Reeves said. Unimpressed, Dorothy Miller, an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for the area, asked, “What is the Mayor thinking?” Miller’s query sent Thomas into a fit of convulsive laughter, with Thomas saying, “This is not going to go nowhere. Do you see even one person here to talk in favor of this bill? You don’t get economic development just by changing a name.”
Media Bash Alfonso Aguilar, editor of the Spanish-language weekly newspaper La Nación, usually has a hard time being heard above the cacophony of umpteen other Spanish-language weeklies in town. But last week, Aguilar broke through and helped oust Blanca Fuertes from her job as executive director of EOFULA, the city’s only Latino senior center. Aguilar relentlessly fanned controversy at the Adams Morgan–based EOFULA, where seniors complained that Fuertes was disrespectful and even downright mean to them—and that she had fired several popular staffers. In addition to putting hostile portraits of Fuertes on the front page and slapping her around in his column, Loose Ends, Aguilar repeatedly called for Fuertes’ resignation, writing, “The director should understand that the majority of the seniors don’t care for her.” Goaded on by La Nación, seniors vented their fury at a board meeting last month, where they described slights suffered during Fuertes’ two-year tenure. Fuertes responded by announcing her resignation, effective Friday. She declined to comment on the resignation and referred questions to EOFULA board members, who did not return calls.
Contrary to Conventional
Wisdom… Bill Clinton and Bob Dole have made a campaign issue out of new studies suggesting that teenage drug use is on the rise, and suburban parents are apoplectic over the notion that Junior may be smoking a few buds. But statistics from the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) suggest the District may be bucking the trend. While D.C. has plenty of youths sporting pot-filled Phillie blunts behind their ears, hard-core drug use is tapering off among kids most likely to be using. According to PSA, PCP use—once epidemic among juvenile delinquents—has plummeted from an average of 18 percent of arrested kids in 1995 to 1 percent this July. PSA Director John Carver III warns against dancing in the streets just yet. “The long-term trend has been that drug use has gone up,” says Carver, adding, “I can only hope that this is the beginning of a steady downward trend.”