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East-of-the-river activists have been buzzing over the disappearance of former Ward 8 D.C. Council candidate Malik Shabazz, who dropped out of sight after the Million Man March last fall (see City Desk, 3/8). A protégé of Louis Farrakhan, Shabazz admitted last year that he moved to the ward only to run for its council seat, a confession that fueled speculation that he had fled the District. But this week Shabazz resurfaced on Capitol Hill leading a cadre of militant “Unity Nation” members to protest congressional interference in District affairs. Dressed in black pants, military shirts, boots, and berets, Shabazz and his delegation from the Howard University student group attended a House D.C. Subcommittee hearing on the control board, where Mayor Marion Barry and D.C. Council Chairman Dave Clarke were testifying. After the hearing, Shabazz and company received a warm welcome from Ward 8 resident Barry, who told them, “You look good.” Shabazz says that despite rumors to the contrary, he still lives in Ward 8 and is fulfilling his campaign pledge to “protect the ’hood.” He says, “Unity Nation will not allow these Uncle Toms and Eleanor Holmes Norton to continue to allow the District of Columbia to go to hell without speaking out about it.”
Weight Watchers While the city can’t protect its citizens from slumlords, food poisoning, rats, and other vermin, caffeine addicts can now rest easier. City regulators have cracked down on a local espresso bar to ensure that consumers are getting enough beans for their buck. Early this month, an agent from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) fined Soho Tea & Coffee at 21st and P Streets NW $500 for using an antiquated spring scale to weigh bags of retail coffee. The fine shocked store owner Helene Bloom, who had been socked a week earlier with another $500 penalty for having too many chairs on the premises. Bloom says DCRA agents are deliberately harassing her for the transgressions of the previous proprietor, who sold the joint to Bloom last summer. DCRA spokeswoman Janet McCormick admits that in the past year, the agency has issued only a single ticket for scale violations. Nonetheless, Bloom now owns a new, computerized scale that registers every last ground on its shiny base.
Dead Dogs Walking Crime-plagued Washington may soon be adopting the death penalty, but the target won’t be some unrepentant cop killer. It’ll be man’s best friend. Last week, Ward 1 Councilmember Frank Smith Jr. proposed a bill that would require immediate execution of a pit bull or Rottweiler that injures a person. The dog’s owner would face up to two years in prison and up to a $200,000 fine. Smith’s plan, dubbed the “Pit Bull and Rottweiler Prohibition Amendment Act of 1996,’’ was not spurred by the recent pit bull attack on fellow politico, Ward 2 ANC Chairman David Morris (see City Desk, 3/8). Instead, Smith was responding to an even more horrific incident in which two teenage girls were mauled by a pit bull after they refused to take off their clothes for the dog’s owner. The bill would prohibit the ownership of a pit bull or Rott-weiler unless the pet is registered as a “dangerous dog.’’ Current D.C. law re-stricts the ownership of a “dangerous dog’’ to those older than 18 who are insured for at least $50,000. No word yet on whether People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will be staging candlelight vigils on the condemned dogs’ behalf. CP