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having been the first baseball and last football stadium announcer at D.C./RFK Stadium, I have more than my share of memories from the stadium, but Dave McKenna’s column on Johan Cruyff struck home (Cheap Seats, “Foreign Diplomat,” 1/19). I also worked some of the soccer games there, but I have an enduring memory of the very game he was describing. Cruyff was dribbling (west to east), almost daring—inviting?—the goalie to come out. The goalie couldn’t seem to make up his mind how he would defend. He finally decided to go after Cruyff, who then simply and effortlessly lofted the ball from 20 yards out. It bounced once and then into the net. Thirty years later, I can still see it in my mind’s eye.
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the fact that wayne bridgeforth has been able to continue his career as a known Washington mail thief on and off for more than 20 years illustrates the relative ineffectiveness of arrest, trial, and punishment to stop mail theft, compared with denying potential mail thieves the opportunity to commit the crime in the first place (“Mail Bonding,” 1/19). For whatever reason, Americans’ efforts to safeguard their personal mail have lagged far behind their efforts to safeguard their other valuable possessions, but there is no need for that situation to continue. A number of companies make security mailboxes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, many of which make crimes such as Wayne Bridgeforth’s essentially impossible, at least for smaller envelopes and packages. In most of these designs, mail drops from the incoming-mail insertion slot into a more or less inaccessible key-locked compartment.
M. Paul Shore
i was mortified to see jessica gould using the word “gypped” in an account of a ticket-purchasing problem at the 9:30 Club (Show & Tell, “Winds of Change,” 1/19). This word is racist and owes its derivation to a put-down of the Roma people, often called gypsies, who have been cast throughout history as grifters, cheaters, and generally untrustworthy people. I trust you will spread the word that this one is not to be used in your paper.
Takoma Park, Md.
there is less disagreement between my letter (The Mail, 1/12) and Rich Layman’s rebuttal (The Mail, 1/19) than one might think. Layman admits regulation of taverns and nightclubs is too lax. He explains why alcohol consumption is higher here but leaves unchallenged my central point that this generates extra cash for campaign contributions.
I do not oppose ABC licenses for bona fide restaurants (i.e., those with 51 percent of sales in food/nonalcoholic drinks, the former “chief source of revenue from the sale of meals”). My problem is with tavern/nightclub licenses, because the level of campaign contributions they generate makes it politically impossible to adequately regulate them. During one iteration of ABC law changes, someone presented D.C. Council a study showing how small the ratio of inspectors to licensed establishments is in D.C. compared to the surrounding jurisdictions.
I obviously do have a problem with taverns masquerading as restaurants, the council and ABC Board giving them two years to come up to standard, the council on an emergency basis passing an industry-friendly “gimme” regarding distance from schools without counterbalancing it without some additional neighborhood protection, and the city government allowing restaurants to use public sidewalk space.
The idea that taverns and nightclubs (as versus bona fide restaurants) help “revitalize” neighborhoods is dubious, but if so, we would expect those neighborhoods and their advisory neighborhood commissions would welcome rather than oppose such establishments.