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Bob Artisst, a longtime Ward 5 activist, knows the agony of political defeat as well as anyone in town. He has run—and lost—in five Ward 5 D.C. Council races, every election since the inception of home rule. He also ran a sixth campaign in 1994 but was disqualified for violating the Hatch Act, which bars D.C. government employees from running in partisan political races. (At the time of the election, Artisst worked for the University of the District of Columbia.) Now Artisst is running for a Ward 5 ANC seat, a post he’s held in the past. But some residents say Artisst doesn’t want the seat badly enough to actually go out and solicit the 25 signatures needed to get on the November ballot. Brookland resident Connie Harn has filed a complaint with the D.C. Board of Elections alleging that Artisst forged signatures on his nominating petition. She says she and her husband, Dan, were among the forged names, many of which were misspelled. “I can’t believe somebody would be so stupid to forge names for an ANC seat when you only needed 25 signatures to run,” says Harn. “It’s not like he’s running for mayor or something.” Artisst could not be reached for comment.
Liberation Theology While a college education is supposed to foster independent thinking, Catholic University grad student Christopher Bellis learned the hard way that independence has its limits. Bellis’ thesis project is a production of Tony Kushner’s prize-winning play, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, which focuses on the trials of gay AIDS patients. Citing the play’s overtly anti-Catholic themes, the university’s administration has banned Bellis from advertising the production to unsuspecting undergraduates, deeming them too unsophisticated to comprehend it. “I don’t know if they’re too innocent,” says Bellis, who notes that a few undergrads are involved with the production. But Richard Parker, general manager of the university’s Hartke Theater, explains that the subject goes against the university’s mission. “The position of the Church is that a homosexual orientation in and of itself is not sinful, but the expression of that is indeed morally objectionable,” he says, adding that the more mature faculty and graduate students will be invited to view the production. As for the younger, impressionable members of the flock, Parker says they won’t be turned away at the door. “We certainly hope that faculty members will guide the undergraduate students,” he says. The show will run at the Hartke from Oct. 10–19.
D.C. Phone Home After months of campaigning to get rid of the pay phones in their neighborhood, the citizens of Blagden Alley and Logan Circle can finally chalk up a victory (see “Phone Zone,” 8/23). Residents have told the Public Service Commission (PSC) that pay-phone customers tend to be the kind of business folk—drug dealers and hookers—they’d rather do without. In a Sept. 11 meeting, Logan Circle ANC Commissioner Robert Riddle said PSC, the ANC, and the phone operators reached an agreement to have three phones removed from 11th between M and N Streets NW. Owners of a fourth phone agreed to block all calls except those to 911 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. during a 60-day trial period. Riddle says PSC has a long history of siding with phone companies throughout the neighborhood’s phone-removal battle, so he also submitted a petition suggesting that PSC be re-staffed. “They didn’t like that very much,” Riddle says.