DON’T GET ME WRONG: I love Washington City Paper. I read it religiously every Thursday because it fills a void in its coverage of local issues. Maybe that is why I forgive the City Paper columns I read most often—“Loose Lips” and “Streetscape”—for their transgressions of the truth and obvious biases. I honestly don’t hold Mark Jenkins, Bill Rice, and Ken Cummins to the same journalistic integrity as I do Washington Post and Washington Times Metro reporters. After all, they are columnists, and they do provide entertainment for us District Building “junkies” every Thursday.
However, in their article on my meeting on downtown issues (“Streetscape,” 9/24), Rice and Jenkins transgressed beyond entertainment. Their facts were so skewed, I am convinced they must have stumbled into LL’s famed District Triangle. To wit:
1.) Apparently things started to blur for Rice when he was asked to leave…so much, he forgot what day it was. My meeting was held Sept. 18, not on Sept. 19 as reported. Then again, maybe there was another meeting on Sept. 19 in the District Triangle.
2.) Contrary to their statement, the purpose of the meeting was not to strategize “in the wake of Dave Clarke’s election.” My meeting had been planned and discussed with various community leaders for nearly six months before Clarke’s victory. But then again, maybe time moves more quickly in the District Triangle.
3.) I did not “[counsel] meeting-goers to accept developer proposals to reduce housing provisions at 1312 Massachusetts Ave. NW and the old Hecht’s site.” True, I was asked for and gave my opinions on each. But, as several sources clearly told Rice, at no time during the meeting did I ever attempt to persuade anybody on any aspect of downtown housing. Moreover, they failed to mention that, at least in the case of 1312 Massachusetts Avenue, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2F), Logan Circle Citizens Association, and virtually all of the neighbors supported the modification. Here, Rice and Jenkins really take liberties with the truth…but then again, maybe they were quoting District Triangle sources.
4.) Finally, we lose all contact with Rice and Jenkins. To say that I am “doing the bidding of…Wilkes Artis” ignores the total picture. Rice and Jenkins know well that I have strongly opposed Wilkes Artis on a number of projects in Ward 2: the cogeneration facility in Georgetown, the Western Presbyterian/IMF project in Foggy Bottom, 2501 Pennsylvania Avenue in Foggy Bottom, and St. Matthews PUD in Dupont Circle. Apparently, in the District Triangle, such matters don’t count.
Actually, I wonder whether all of this has more to do with the fact that Rice showed up at the meeting expecting food and drink. Probably, he was weak because he hadn’t eaten since the election four days earlier when the candidates’ receptions abruptly ended. We have a long way to go between now and the September 1994 elections when Rice can be assured of food and drink freely flowing once again. I shudder to think of what City Paper readers will be subjected to between now and then.
Councilmember, Ward 2
The District Building