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Potomac Confidential

Marc Fisher
Post Metro Columnist
Thursday, December 2, 2004; 12:00 PM

Potomac Confidential fills the midday lull with discussion of the latest news and a rigorous slicing and dicing of the issues that define who we are and where we live.

In his weekly show, Washington Post Metro columnist Marc Fisher veers wildly from serious probing to silly prattle, and is open to topics local, national, personal and more.

Marc Fisher (The Washington Post)

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A transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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Marc Fisher: Welcome aboard, folks. Hope you all had a fine Thanksgiving.
Speaking of heaping plates, let's get right to it. Today's column explores the politics of baseball in the D.C. Council, which seems intent on making approval of a stadium deal an end-of-year nailbiter. The Tuesday column described the sad state of affairs at Sousa Middle School and other city schools where music instruction is a thing of the past.
And now, the Yay and Nay of the Day:
Yay to Michelle Turner of the Einstein High School PTA in Kensington, and to other parent activists around Montgomery County who are rising in protest against the school board's decision to impose discussion of "sexual variations" on eighth graders, whether they are developmentally ready for that or not. The public schools, Turner says, are "not the department of social services," a fact that seems lost on school administrators.
Nay to members of the Metro board, who, as the Post's Lyndsey Layton reported today, don't bother to use the system they direct. No one expects board members to commute by rail or bus if that's inconvenient to their homes and offices, but you'd think they'd feel some obligation to make regular use of the system so that they can fairly do their jobs.
And today's Story Pick of the Day is Hank Steuver's Style essay on softness. Best detail: we've gotten so soft that "toilet paper no longer fits on the roller because it's so big and plush."
Let's ride softly into the fray, shall we?

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Washington, D.C.: Marc, it's really puzzling to see a liberal such as yourself come out all in favor of corporate welfare. How can you honestly call spending hundreds of millions of dollars for Major League Baseball a "sweet deal"? Are you kidding me? Why can San Francisco build a waterfront ball park with private money but not us? And the reward is what exactly? A few hundred low paying jobs selling tickets and peanuts? The only upside I see is that baseball will enable us to take our minds off the fact that our schools are failing and the libraries are falling apart. The baseball deal is simply outrageous, and your support for it is incredibly disappointing.

Marc Fisher: Sorry to disappoint, but all you have to do to see what makes public investment in baseball worthwhile is walk along Seventh Street to see the transformation of Washington's East End that was wrought by the MCI Center. Talk to developers who wouldn't invest a dime in that corridor until they saw the success of the sports arena. Or look further afield at San Francisco, which got a new chunk of downtown out of its stadium investment, or Denver, where a similar development rush was triggered by a new ballpark.
Sure, it'd be great if we had another Abe Pollin who was willing to foot the bill for the stadium himself. But we don't. Governments invest in cultural facilities all the time--the Kennedy Center, the new Strathmore Music Center in Montgomery--and no one expects those to turn a profit. They add immeasurably to what makes places attractive, both to residents and to developers.

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Washington, D.C.: Marc,

Couldn't agree more about your article today on Linda Cropp! I was able to watch and/or hear quite a bit of the City Council meeting on my computer and was disgusted by her "leadership." As you mentioned, all her amendments passed, yet she still had to be contrary and abstain. She also let Catania rant and rave all day, saying the same things over and over again. If Evans hadn't stepped in and suggested tabling the majority of Catania's amendments until the next meeting, he would have raged all night.

Another thing that irked me was the contestant portrayal by the naysayers that the District is a dump in crisis. I was born here and spent most of my life in the area and now live in the city, and wanted to say to them HELLO --were you living here 10-20 years ago? We've got problems, I agree the schools and the libraries are a disgrace (rejecting baseball wouldn't have changed that), but we are (most of the time) moving forward.

Marc Fisher: I wouldn't be so hard on Catania and Adrian Fenty, the primary voices in opposition to the stadium deal. They make a lot of very good points and their passion is what makes them both superb elected officials. They do their homework and they stand up against municipal corruption. I don't agree with them on this issue, but on topic after topic, I find them two of the very best politicians in town.

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S4, Washington, DC: I am so angry after reading the article regarding the riding habits of board members! How arrogant can these people be? Why are we paying for cars for them! And more importantly, how do we get rid of them? In most jobs, experience is a requirement. Well, if you have no experience riding the Metro, you have no business being on the metro board. How are these people hired and fired, and how do I get myself, faithful S-line rider, on the board?

Marc Fisher: The free cars and free parking for Metro board members is galling and jaw-droppingly inappropriate. Fine, if they can't make Metro work for them to get from home to office, let them drive. But they should make every effort to use Metro as they move around town, and going to Metro board meetings is the perfect opportunity for them to check in and see how their system is doing.

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Bethesda, Md.: The article about Metro's Board not riding the buses or the rails was revealing. The lot of them, save for Charles Deegan, should be terminated. How can you set policy or make decisions when you have no experiences with public transportation? Board members will be far more useful by riding a bus at rush hour than any meeting they attend. And, the free and reserved parking at Metro headquarters should be eliminated for all.

Marc Fisher: How about a hand for Charles Deegan, the sole member of the Metro board who would let Post reporter Lyndsey Layton check out his SmartCard to see how much he's been using the Metro system? The excuses offered by the other board members for not sharing that basic information were pathetic.

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Bethesda, Md.: I've found both Councilman Fenty and Catania to be rather intractable on the stadium issue, which is fine but I wonder if you have any response to their, seemingly, unmovable stance?

Also, you might want to check out the following report from the Federal Reserve Bank in Philly: Should Cities Be Ready For Some Football?. It seriously disagrees with a number of papers which question the value of franchises/stadia to cities. By the way, most of those reports (at least the ones that I have read) seem to gloss over unique reasons why a specific facility may not have lived up to expectations.

I do understand principled objection, but I don't understand arrogance and dismissiveness, as in this recent e-exchange between Councilman Catania and me. Please note that the original communication was signed, with my name and address and that all of the city council was copied. I have chosen to delete name and address from this note, for obvious reasons.:

Sent: Monday, November 29, 2004 9:54 PM
To: dcatania-dccouncil.washington.dc.us

Dear Councilman Catania,

I have followed, with interest, your developing "campaign" against the proposed stadium for DC. While I am not one of your constituents, I was born and raised in DC and have spent over half of my life as a citizen of the District. As a Maryland resident, who continues to have an interest in the city, I have made every effort possible to urge my U.S. Senators and Congress person (whether Morella or Van Hollen) to support bills which favor the District and its residents. I continue to be involved in youth activities in the city.

I saw your recent appearance on the Derek McGinty show, on WUSA, during which you voiced your opposition to the stadium. Quite frankly, I was appalled by your actions and your attitude.

First, you shouted and tried to talk through Mr. McGinty in a way that could only be reminiscent of Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. You really owe the host and audience an apology.

Second, you introduced a non-sequitur into your presentation, when you stated that the average DC school is 65 years old and the average Fairfax County school is 15 years old. This is a completely irrelevant argument. By the way, I learned about fallacious arguments in 8th Grade, in the DC Public Schools.

Third, you managed to rail about the fact that DC would be spending money to provide entertainment for suburbanites. Again, you have provided a fallacious argument. Those suburbanites will be given the opportunity to buy meals, event tickets, and make use of the Metro at otherwise quiet times (thus, helping to amortize fixed costs) all money that will be taxed and go towards the DC budget...money that otherwise would not be available.

I would certainly hope that you approach the rest of your duties, as councilman, with a greater sense of responsibility, logic, and respect for others than you have shown on this issue.

From: Catania, David (COUNCIL) -mailto:dcatania-dccouncil.us]
Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 10:07 AM

Subject: RE: Your recent appearances

I really couldn't care less what you think!

Marc Fisher: Ouch. I won't defend Catania's position or his lack of grace in responding to you, but I do understand the view of many city politicians that they don't have to answer to suburbanites whose jurisdictions fight against a commuter tax and who use city resources without paying for them.

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Boston, Mass.: Why is getting rid of customers who cut into your profits with their behavior a bad thing for Best Buy, when charging obese people more for airline tickets since you need more fuel to cart them around is a good thing? One group cost you more by bugging you with comparison prices and only coming in for deals. Another cost more fuel, eats up all the snacks and takes up all the leg room. One business is to be scorned the other should get out the tape measures to capture BMI price index. Is there difference? Or is it just that you like discounts and aren't particularly heavyset?

Marc Fisher: This great question stems from a couple of columns that ran the week preceding Thanksgiving. The distinction here is one of public accommodation. If Best Buy said they were going to offer discounts to their most valued customers, I doubt many folks would have a problem with that. But instead, the company seeks to exclude or discourage customers who minimize Best Buy's profits. The airlines, similarly, have the right to charge people more money if their ridership is more expensive, but it would be wrong to tell big people that they can't come on the plane. That seems consistent to me.

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Southern Maryland: What did the school board mean by "sexual variations"? Did they mean homosexuality? I'm a parent myself and I believe that discussion of homosexuality is not out of line in school, as long as it's done appropriately and with kids who are developmentally ready for it. Kids will ask questions about this stuff.

Marc Fisher: The key phrase there is "developmentally ready." I have no problem with what Montgomery is planning to teach in the 10th grade, but lots of school systems are pushing harder and harder to extend intimate discussion of sexuality into younger grades, where some kids may well be ready for a frank talk about different forms of sexual expression, but some may not. Why is that the school's determination to make rather than the parents'?

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Washington, D.C.: Marc,

Have you been to the new development next to MCI (retail, movie theater, some upcoming restaurants)? Granted, it's still not done, but I went their one weekday and it was nearly empty. I think this place will end up being a white elephant. Was this the wrong kind of development for that valuable spot?

Marc Fisher: I've not been, but I've heard from several people that the new movie complex there is quite empty, even on weekend nights. The Gallery Place shops are not even all open yet, so it's way to early to conclude anything. There's certainly a good deal of foot traffic on Seventh Street and at the nightclubs surrounding that area. Will that translate into a shopping crowd after office hours? Eventually, yes, but maybe not soon enough for the businesses that are pioneering in that mall.

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Washington, D.C.: With all the missteps with Metro over the years, why have I not heard a big push for Richard White to step down?

Marc Fisher: There has been some talk about that, but Metro riders, until very recently, have not had a history of organized advocacy. That may well be changing given the stresses that the system is showing these days.

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Bethesda, Md.: I'm right there with the other chatters who are infuriated by Metro's board. My favorite comment was from the member who didn't ride Metro because she was "too busy" and waiting for trains and buses "was too inconvenient" for her schedule. Like the rest of us have all day to be hanging out in Metro stations! The board should be made up of people who ride the Metro!

Marc Fisher: I agree, but let's play this out: If indeed all these board members did ride Metro daily, would that make conditions in the system better? Some easy fixes would likely happen--the idiocy of having almost no garbage cans because of post-9/11 hysteria would likely be relieved, for example. But it's hard to see how the big question--whether Metro gets a dedicated funding source--would be much affected. Would it?

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Silver Spring, Md.: Could we get the addresses and phone numbers of the Metro board members? The next time the Red Line has big problems, I'd like to call one of them to grab a ride to work in one of the cars paid for by my increased Metro fares. How much do these folks get paid?

Marc Fisher: There's a list of board members with bios here:

http://www.wmata.com/about/board_gm/board.cfm

I don't know if they get extra pay beyond their salaries as public officials around the region. Anyone?

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Arlington, Va.: Marc, Leiby is saying there's snow in the forecast. Do you have enough bread, milk, and toilet paper?

Marc Fisher: Is that even possible? It doesn't really matter how much bread, milk or TP you have. The essential point is that you must go out and get more, and you may not make the trip until at least 10 p.m. on the evening before the snow. These are crucial community-building moments and you must take these steps in accordance with the pre-snow regulations that you were issued when you moved here. Please, people, this will not work unless you conform to expectations.

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Northern Virginia: Marc,

You missed an easy Nay of the day to Mark Warner. He ran on his ability to create jobs, but it turns out that he is doing so by giving state tax breaks to companies for putting Homeland Security jobs in NoVa. So now we have the State Government giving tax breaks to companies that are either based in Virginia or have a significant presence there for federal government-generated jobs.

Marc Fisher: Ok, but had I done so, shouldn't I have balanced that with a Yay for Warner's continuing campaign to drag Virginia into the modern era by granting governors (not including himself, of course) the right to seek a second term? Party and ideology have no role in this--Dems and Reps alike realize that a governor has little chance to make much difference in a single term.

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Alexandria, Va.: Speaking of boondoggles -- the Capitol Vistor center -- the Republican chairman of the Appropriations Committee wonders why the costs have risen -- I guess he forgot about the 170,000 square ft. of NEW OFFICE SPACE for members -- the center was supposed to be for tourists and some offices -- now it includes a 450-seat theater and twice the space -- where is the outrage?

Marc Fisher: Good point: That silly visitors center (which is the official federal code word for any facility that prevents visitors from going to the actual public site they wanted to see) will cost easily as much as the baseball stadium, yet no one seems particularly perturbed that that kind of money is being sunk into a project that will serve only to discourage citizens from seeing the Capitol itself.

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Washington, D.C.: Having the board members actually ride Metro would do a lot for the system. They probably hear all day long about how worthless the station managers are, but you really can't believe the stories till you actually see them in action (or inaction). You also see Metro Police walk by people eating, you see all the litter on the trains (lots being the Post), and they also may get caught in a shutdown and actually see how the employees deal with it. Maybe if they see the little things wrong, they can get a better understanding of the system itself.

Marc Fisher: Makes sense to me. So would you require them to ride, or just encourage them, or maybe just stop giving them incentives NOT to ride, such as the free parking and free cars?

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Arlington, Va.: The reaction to the Metro Board members who don't ride is just another facet of the term-limits, anti-insider, etc., feelings. Our "leaders" are so cut off from what us normal folks go through -- how can we trust them to make policy that affects us all?

Marc Fisher: Right--and when they start evading the questions--Do you ride Metro? Do your kids go to public school? Where do you really live?--then you know you've hit their soft spot. They know it's wrong; it just needs to be exposed so that we all know about it.

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Springfield, Va.: Hi Marc, I heard an ad on the radio yesterday pleading for the use of non-union labor when constructing the new baseball stadium. I don't recall having heard this same plea when the Wilson Bridge or Mixing Bowl started construction. Who is responsible for the ad?

Marc Fisher: I haven't heard the ad, but there are groups of minority contractors in the city that frequently push for easing of union requirements as a way to increase black employment at major construction sites. There's been quite a bit of discussion about requiring that the stadium contract include guarantees of jobs or training positions for city residents--that's one subject that's still in flux as the deal moves toward the final vote.

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Southern Maryland again: I agree that when it comes to a frank talk about different forms of sexual expression, it should be the parent's decision as to when it's appropriate. My question had to do with simply answering questions like "What's a gay person?" Some activists are pushing the idea that even answering that question in an age-appropriate manner amounts to "promoting" homosexuality. I don't believe that at all.

Marc Fisher: I have no problem with teaching kids about homosexuality in the context of a sex ed course in high school. Where schools run into trouble is when they decide that all students at the elementary or middle school level must be subjected to classes about sexual behavior that go way beyond science instruction and well into discussion of mores and techniques, decisions that are best left to families to make for themselves.

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Baseball Bad Guys: You are correct that, rightly or wrongly, it is unrealistic to expect that a baseball stadium would be built here without some amount of public financing. While the mayor and company must take responsibility for defending the deal they struck, let's also take a moment to remember that it was the last-minute, ill-conceived attempt by Loudon County officials to get the stadium in their backyard that put D.C. in the position of having to give up more than it otherwise might have in order to secure the team. So much for regional cooperation. I hope District officials are prepared to be equally "cooperative" on future initiatives designed to benefit Loudon County.

Marc Fisher: The mature thing to do would have been for the District and Virginia bids to have combined forces a couple of years ago, working out an equitable division of the revenues and costs of a stadium. That likely would have meant putting the ballpark in Rosslyn or Crystal City, which would have been a happy result for all sides in that debate.

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Alexandria, Va.: Marc Fisher: I agree, but let's play this out: If indeed all these board members did ride Metro daily, would that make conditions in the system better?

It may not make the conditions in the system disappear but it would allow the "public officials" paid by the public, to experience the problems and the crowding that happen daily. I also e-mailed Metro to suggest posting some of the comments and concerns sent to Metro each month on the Web site. The London Transport Web site includes comments from riders every month. It's informative to see where the problems lie.

Marc Fisher: London's Tube, a system run by an American administrator, has gone from being a nightmare to being a model of close communication with its riders. Check out their web site and you'll get a good sense of how a transit system can use frank discussion of its problems and savvy marketing to create a commonality with the riders and build support for paying for the necessary fixes.

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Herndon, Va.: Marc, this is really getting difficult! If I get too much of the new, extra, extra soft toilet paper in my "pre-snow" run to the store, I won't have room for my usual 5 gallons of milk and 8 loaves of bread purchase! (not to mention the peanut butter)

Marc Fisher: Make more trips. This will serve two purposes: 1) By adding to congestion on local roads, you help clarify the traffic problems, giving your neighbors valuable evidence to help them make up their minds on transportation solutions. And 2), you add to the pre-snow sense of hysteria, which is one of the identifying characteristics of our region and therefore builds community here at home and adds to our profile around the country.

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Bethesda, Md.: Marc -- More a comment than a question. I enjoyed your column about the Hard Hat concert at Strathmore two weeks ago. I attended that concert and thought the BSO and the Hall were terrific. It's a remarkable, first-rate facility. I think Duncan was absolutely right to push for its funding. The lineup of concerts starting in February is excellent and it will be a pleasure not to have to fight the impossible parking situation at the Kennedy Center to hear first rate performers.

Marc Fisher: Thanks--it will be very interesting to see the impact that Strathmore has on the Kennedy Center. This is the first time an American orchestra has made such an incursion into the turf of another top-flight orchestra and it will be exciting to see the face-off between the NSO and the BSO. If you believe that the Orioles will improve because of the existence of the Nationals, as I do, then you have to conclude that the two orchestras will also rise to new heights. Or maybe one will die.

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Silver Spring, Md.: You can't put a team in Crystal City! The only place for the ballplayers to go after the game would be the Crystal City restaurant. Hopefully all the guys would be on their best behavior.

Marc Fisher: Everyone could adjourn after the game to the pizza court at Price Club. Just think of the savings.

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SmartTrip cards: Give them two cards already!
1 for official business, and publish the records. The other for personal use.

Marc Fisher: Why be so shy? Why not just put their SmartTrip records online for all to see? Put them all online; it would be almost as much fun as having real estate records online. You could check out your neighbor's movements, track your kids, and so on.

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Petworth, Washington, D.C.: I'm amazed that Mr Catania bothered to reply to the Bethesda person.

I, a D.C. resident, have written to him and a number of occasions and never received any reply at all.

Marc Fisher: Email is the bane of most elected officials' daily existence. They love it because it connects them to their constituents, and they hate it for exactly the same reason. As someone who gets many hundreds of such missives each day, I sympathize when they can't answer all of them. But some pols really do try and others just ignore the whole works.

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Gallery Place, Washington, D.C.: Build it and they will come.

Having lived in the area for a while now it is considerably busier now than a year ago. Also at some point there will be an official opening.

Marc Fisher: Yes, it's way too early to conclude anything about Gallery Place.

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Washington, D.C. : Maturity in designing a ball park bid? Metro officials actually using the system? Parents making appropriate decisions in teaching kids about sex? My my, aren't we idealists today. Next you are going to tell me that the mayor is spending December in the District to make sure his ballpark deal goes through.

There is a 30 percent chance of snow. I, for one, am embracing the madness that is reality and running to the store to buy ... everything!

Marc Fisher: Please save me that leaking carton of buttermilk in the back of the rack, the one that's always reserved for me after every other drop of milk is long gone.

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Silver Spring, Md.: As my wife and I have/had many gay/lesbian bosses, co-workers, friends, and neighbors, and our daughter, in 4th grade, has reason to meet many of these people, and hear us discuss them in normal conversation, we have found it appropriate to explain to her, in an age-appropriate fashion, that these people, or couples, have a different preference, and may also live in committed relationships as we do.

I found the findings in Rep. Waxman's report offensive.

Marc Fisher: Great--so you've found the way of discussing sexuality with your kids that works for your family. We've done similarly with our kids, in different ways with each of them. I have no idea if we made the right decisions, but I want the right to make those choices without having a school deciding for me what the right age is to start those discussions. What, pray tell, is the rush?

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Washington, D.C.: Has anything been done to remove the coyote(s) from Rock Creek Park?

Marc Fisher: He's been placed outside RFK to keep the politicians from checking out land for a different stadium site.
No, I have not heard of any effort to capture or remove the coyotes. I have heard from folks who live near the park that they hear coyotes and love the sound.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey! Don't sleep on the Crystal City Restaurant. One of best steaks at at strip club that you'll ever find. And you can get Ms. July's autograph after the show! Good times!

Marc Fisher: We don't get nearly enough in the way of strip club food reviews on this chat. I'll have to ask the post.com folks to get right on this.

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Washington, D.C.: Marc,

I don't know if this has been a subject of an earlier column, but what can we say to the obstructionists in the Tenleytown area who seem bent on keeping the area as a low-development paradise. Smart growth and logical reasoning points to greater development in that area clustered near the Metro stop. Kind of a greater good issue.

Marc Fisher: And here I was thinking that I'd hit that topic too often. Or maybe that's what the anti-development folks in Tenleytown have been telling me. In any event, I couldn't agree more. Upper Wisconsin Avenue in the District is the most shamefully and egregiously underdeveloped place in the rich part of Washington, and a relative handful of anti-urban neighbors have been quite successful in pushing back against the mayor's efforts to boost development around the Metro station there. It's sad, because the city's future depends heavily on its ability to boost the tax base with exactly that sort of development.

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Herndon, Va.: Marc, thank you for emphasizing the importance of extra trips to the store when the mere possibility of snow arises. My wife and I will both drive our two cars back and forth as often as possible, making minimum purchases each time. This will help ensure total gridlock before the first snowflake falls (did you know no two are alike? if you did, where is the proof?)

Marc Fisher: Kindly catalogue each of the snowflakes you encounter on your multiple journeys and report back to us next week.

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Northern Virginia: Strip joint food? Maybe Sietsema can use that for his Spring dining guide.

Marc Fisher: That would make for an awfully thin Dining Guide for our friends over at the Magazine. On the other hand, Tom would have to make a side reporting trip to Vegas to understand the context for his dining judgments.

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Clifton, Va.: Under stupid federal laws and regs union help was required for Wilson and Springfield interchange projects. Federal highways dollars require Union shop. My brother-in-law got a no-show union job at the Wilson Bridge project and his brother a union no work job just like on the Sopranos. Maryland politicos insisted on the union workers.

Marc Fisher: Tell me more about your brother-in-law's job. Where doesn't he show up? What doesn't he do? And where do I apply?

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It's way too early to conclude anything about Gallery Place: Er ... haven't you been using this all along as justification for your jock itch? Now that it seems things aren't so swell, you say this? In the same chat as your assertion that this justifies things?

Sheesh. "Faith Based" stadium development. Maybe you should write a column asking Bush to fund it?

Marc Fisher: I don't see where it is that things aren't so swell. Walk along Seventh Street any night between E and Eye streets; if you don't see powerful signs of vibrant street life, then you'd be right to oppose the stadium deal.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Snow!? I hope the liquor store doesn't run out of Bushmills and Guinness before I can get there.

Marc Fisher: Is that what goes first at the liquor stores on snow nights? I'd have thought that the rush would have been on cognac and the like.

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Arlington, Va.: It's pretty outrageous that Arlington County is fighting for the supposed right of poor people to live there. Arlington County, these poor people aren't going to pay a dime in taxes, but they're going to keep our police busy as they deal drugs and shoot each other. Yay for the developers who are suing Arlington, sacrificing their time and money to fight for the rights of all Arlingtonians!

Marc Fisher: Irony strikes the affordable housing debate in Arlington. I'll have more on this issue in a forthcoming column.

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Arlington, Va.: Several years ago, my niece's second grade teacher felt it was necessary for him to come out to his class. Although my sister and her husband have absolutely no religious or moral objections to homosexuality, they really weren't prepared to explain it to a 7-year- old.

Parents need to take responsibility for raising these issues with their children as they come up and in ways that conform with their ideals. The school's role should be to set an example of embracing diversity and respect for all, not to directly teach sexuality issues at an arbitrarily designated age.

Marc Fisher: May I vote for you for school board?

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Fairfax, Va.: Marc -
Good to see that Metro is actually issuing written instructions to their drivers on how to operate the trains. Only took them, what, 28 years or so?

Marc Fisher: Excuse me, folks, I just got my official manual on reporting--got to go do some reading.

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Marc Fisher: That kicks things in the head for today, friends (and the rest of you, too.) Back in the paper on Sunday and here with you a week from today, when we'll hear Herndon say, "I went out at midnight to get milk and there wasn't even a snowstorm? I want my money back."

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