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.
This Week's Columns:
(The Washington Post)
D.C. Wants To Pave Over A Bit of History (Potomac Confidential, July 22)
In Alexandria, Even Egging Is Shrugged Off (Potomac Confidential, July 20)
All the Signs Say the Expos Belong Here (Potomac Confidential, July 18)
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.
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.
Marc Fisher: Welcome aboard, folks. It's hot and sticky outside, but whoever said July brought summer doldrums hasn't been keeping tabs on the news in the Washington area.
This week's columns: Tuesday's looked at the continuing hullabaloo in Alexandria in the aftermath of the drunken driving arrest of the schools superintendent--an incident that led to the egging of the home of an activist who thought the school board should have come down harder on the schools chief.
Today's offering takes a ride on the old trolley rails of Georgetown, which are endangered by a city attempt to clean up the old cobblestone streets and make some rich neighbors happy by eliminating what they see as an inconvenience.
Now, the Yay and Nay of the Day:
Yay to the U.S. Justice Department for cracking down on Maryland's U.S. Attorney, Thomas DiBiagio, who sent a memo to his staff lawyers pushing them to come up with indictments of public officials before the November elections. Federal prosecutors can be faulted for going too easy on public corruption cases--certainly that's been true in the District--but DiBiagio's approach is insulting and all too close to the kind of corruption that he should be fighting, not joining.
Nay to D.C.'s make-believe congressional delegate, Eleanor Norton, who stripped the line about supporting D.C. statehood out of the Democratic party platform for the first time since 1988, and who accepted a meaningless speaking opportunity at next week's convention in lieu of what would have been a dramatic moment: Activists fighting for voting rights in the District had planned to break up the Soviet-style coronation of veep candidate John Edwards by nominating a pro-DC rights candidate. It would have been a symbolic move and one that might have won some publicity. Whereas Norton's speech won't be televised and won't make a ripple. It should be noted that John Kerry opposes adding a House seat for the District.
College Park, Md.:
Bravo on the kids' egging story. Just goes to show you the cavalier attitude the Fairfax administrators have towards the law.
Makes Prince George's County look like the Vienna Boys' Choir!
Marc Fisher: Thanks--though it's Alexandria, not Fairfax. Alexandria's got all the charm and political incestuousness and backbiting of a small town, even if it is a good sized city.
Marc, do you have contact information so that non-Alexandrians can give money to the effort to recall Luby?
Marc Fisher: Sure. Check out Jim Boissonault's site: www.whatmatters.ws
17th and Penn. Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.:
Loved your column on radio commercials. Although normally a Metro commuter, I had a month of driving (one hour plus)to work a year or so ago. The radio drove me bananas with the commercials and the endless, mindless chatter. I had satellite installed soon after. I adore my satellite -- all the fun of what radio used to be without all the commercials. They even have a traffic and weather channel that updates every four minutes! It is worth every penny.
Marc Fisher: It is indeed--every style of music you could want, and commercial-free. Only drawback: it has a somewhat canned, timeless feel to it; it needs more live deejays. But you're right--it's a great and fast-growing alternative. Enough so that Clear Channel, the biggest broadcast radio company, this week said it will move to cut back on the number of commercials per hour on its stations.
I'm imagining a scene two or three years from now. It's a breezy summer evening. Just finished dinner at an outdoor cafe in downtown D.C. Getting ready to walk the final few blocks with my wife and kids to our new state of the art downtown D.C. ball park amidst a sea of fans, vendors, and kiosks. The sights and the smells are baseball in its purest form. Am joined by fellow fans from D.C., the burbs, conventioneers, international visitors, and local colleges, as well as out of town fans from Philly or New York, who took the quick drive down on I-95, or the train, or who flew in from Atlanta (or any baseball city)for a few days to root for their teams and take in sights of D.C. All are caught up in the frenzy of another tight National League East race, with only games separating our team, the Washington Strikers (or maybe the Snakeheads), and the other contenders. How sweet! Think this is a candidate for "To Be Continued?"
Marc Fisher: I certainly hope so. I'm trying not to get too optimistic here. The whispers and rumors out of baseball owners are very mixed. Some say we're headed for a big win; others say it's pretty much over and Selig will bow to Peter Angelos' objections to a D.C. or Virginia team. The longer it goes, the less likely we are of winning the Expos.
By the way, there is a new mass transit riders group forming, thought that might interest you and your chatters. the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Riders Union -- WMATRU. For more info, visit Transit Riders Union -- DC Area or e-mail wmatru-yahoo.com. Thanks.
Marc Fisher: Thanks--this is an exciting development. We've needed an active straphangers group here for a long time. This group made its debut on Lyndsey Layton's chat earlier this week--happy to help out here too.
Wanted to comment on your Radio column from Sunday. A coworker in the next office sometimes listens to DC101 over the Internet. After a while I noticed that there were occasional long stretches of some generic instrumental music that I couldn't identify, sometimes broken up by a speaking voice. On listening more closely, the voice was saying something about this being a break for "commercial content" which was not available to Internet listeners. (The message repeated several times during the break, exactly like when you're on hold on the phone.) I should have timed the breaks, but they did seem to go on and on, for five minutes at least.
Marc Fisher: Good point--if you can get past the not-so-hot audio quality, Internet listening is often a good way to hear broadcast radio stations without the commercials. Most stations paper over the ads with generic music--a result of the confusing copyright and music permissions legal wrangling that's been going on on the Hill and at the Library of Congress, which runs copyright issues for Congress.
Much more relevant than the Montgomery County support of the District for baseball was the strong opposition expressed from Adrian Fenty and David Catania July 11th to substantial public financing of a stadium, along with the complete panning of the ludicrous Banneker Overlook engineering nightmare of a stadium site by Benjamin Forgey. This opposition only figures to intensify given the stonewalling by the mayor and other baseball boosters of the public and non-boosterish D.C. Council members, especially as election day draws near.
Marc Fisher: Sadly, the D.C. council has been all over the board on the baseball stadium issue, sending thoroughly confusing and mixed messages to Selig and Major League Baseball's money and marketing people. What started out as a fairly open process--at least compared to Virginia's--has become destructively secretive and confused.
Dupont Area, Washington, D.C.:
Do you think it was rather childish of D.C. delegates to threaten to nominate Eleanor Holmes Norton as their nominee for VP at the Democratic convention next week? I recall in the 2000 presidential election some of the District's representatives to the Electoral College threatened a similar stunt. I think these kinds of actions give the equal representation cause a bad name.
Marc Fisher: Oh no, not childish at all. If you can't stage a bit of an uprising at an event that is so staged as to repel even the thousands of news hounds who desperately want to cover it, then when and where can you? The District's cause is just, and it sorely needs national attention and recognition--anything possible to break up the scripted convention would help. Backing away from that goal to get a few minutes at the lectern for our phony delegate is just plain sad.
Re: John Kerry and D.C. voting rights
I thought John Kerry's position was on the current proposal to give D.C. a voting delegate in exchange for giving Utah a (presumably Republican) additional representative. Your statement suggests that he is simply opposed to D.C. having a vote at all. Which is it?
Marc Fisher: Kerry opposes the Tom Davis plan, which is the only D.C. representation plan currently in existence. That's the plan that would add one seat in the District and one in Utah, creating a politically balanced solution. It's not perfect, of course, but it's sure better than what we have. And Kerry's against it. Is Bush? Probably, but he hasn't said so, and Davis and other proponents of the plan think they can bring the Bush administration around to support it.
Marc, your observations about D.C.'s perplexing preservation pertubations not withstanding, I think you're on the wrong side of this one. I'm not a G'Town resident, but I've driven on those tracks often enough to know how hazardous they can be, particularly in the icy winter. Save a block's worth, if you must, but get rid of them! Sometimes preservation for preservation's sake is simply not worth it. The firehouse on Wisconsin Ave. is a perfect case in point.
Marc Fisher: Right--this city has far too much preservation of things that are simply not of any historic importance, whether it's the firehouse on Wisconsin Avenue or the Sears building in Tenleytown or the house in front of Palisades park. But the Georgetown trolley tracks are literally the only ones of their kind in this country, and the folks at the Trolley Museum make a powerful argument for their preservation. In addition, they aren't doing any harm, and they add to the attraction of Georgetown.
I rode D.C. Transit (as it was called then, and 'Capital Transit' before that) trolleys to school and out to Glen Echo as a kid. I have a deep regard for our history. I don't want to have to go out to the Trolley Museum in Silver Spring to be reminded of our wonderful trolley system, although it is a great place to visit. Why did someone allow the Car Barn on M St. at Key Bridge to be destroyed? A travesty! O. Roy Chalk must be spinning in his grave.
Marc Fisher: The Car Barn is still there, but you're right--it's been converted into something that's not recognizable. The trolley tracks should stay if only to remind us of the folly of having ripped them up in the first place. Our traffic woes would be much relieved today had we kept the trolleys long enough for them to be renamed "light rail."
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.:
Interesting article on the trolley tracks today.
I'm on the other (Rock Creek) side of Wisconsin and don't have a dog in the fight, but anytime I'm coming in from the Key Bridge, I avoid M St for the traffic, and O and P for the rails -- they are quaint, but what a hassle.
This leaves N and Q, which is fine by me.
Meanwhile, what's this about the fire station on Wisconsin Ave? Where is it located, and how do the rest of us in N.W. tell these busybodies to shut up?
Marc Fisher: What's the hassle that the tracks present? Sure, you should drive a bit slower there, but what's wrong with that? And they are really, really fun to drive on. If you've got a reasonable sized sedan, you can steer your way up onto the tracks and pretend you're a trolley conductor. Maybe buy a little bell and ring it as you roll along the steel.
Hi Marc -- Loved your columns this week -- especially the one about the Alexandria mess. My question, though, is about Northwest D.C. A few years back, someone started building a huge tower at Tenleytown. Construction was halted, and there's been half a tower there ever since. Any talk about tearing it down? If it stays there much longer, it might become a beloved historical site -- like the Tenleytown Sears building.
Marc Fisher: Oh, forgot to answer previous post re the location on that firehouse--it's the shell of a building that's standing, sort of, on Wisconsin Avenue just south of the Tenley Market, two blocks south of Yuma St. and Nebraska Avenue.
As for the tower, amazingly that case remains mired in court, after all these years. There is, if I recall correctly, a standing order for the removal of the tower, but I believe the order was stayed as the tower's builder appeals through the courts. And yes, I'm sure it will be declared historic any minute now.
Tenleytown, Washington, D.C.:
Re: Great Eggs-Spectations: Marc: Apparently egging has re-emerged as a popular high school after-hours activity. It is rampant in upper Northwest these days. Our house was egged recently as were the others on our block and I have heard from others who suffered the same fate. Of course, these kids won't face the long arm of the law - give me a break, we're in D.C. where it's a waste of good time to even report such matters to the police.
Of course, police also ignored reports of breaking into motor vehicles, and for years motor vehicle thefts seemed to have less priority than expired meters. Which led to increased thefts by teens since the risks were so low, which led to the current crime emergency.
I'd normally say something about the chickens coming home to roost here, but that is far to cheap a joke for this forum.
Marc Fisher: Too cheap for this forum? Can there be such a thing?
Egging is a fine tradition for 14 year old pranksters. There's nothing remotely creative or smart about it, but it's an entry-level prank. The true artists--and anyone who is 19 and pranking should be heavily into much more complex and clever pranks--are not vandals, but are humorists who love the practice joke. Sadly, we live in a time of zero tolerance and other such spoilsport nonsense. But if those 19 year olds in Alexandria were really pranksters, they'd have done something that would be somewhat annoying but far more clever and meaningful. Instead, in this case, what we had was malicious and stupid--the opposite of good pranksterism.
Silver Spring, Md.:
Someone hears eggs thrown against their house and dials 911? Isn't 911 for emergencies, not just a convenient number to call if one can't remember the full non-emergency number? Did they really feel their lives were in danger? I read a lot of reports of people calling 911 for non-emergencies, with seldom an editorial note that 911 is for emergencies. Of course, for years people in D.C., at least, called 911 to get rides to routine medical appointments.
Marc Fisher: Well, if the kids were still out there egging, and the eggs were coming fast and furious, and the target was someone who was already getting some harassment because of his political stand, then calling 911 seems legitimate to me. If the guys had already left, then calling the non-emergency number would suffice. Police will tell you that that's the main distinction--911 is for crimes in progress.
Petworth, Washington, D.C.:
I live not far from Georgia Ave. and Quincy St. It was insanity last night -- police everywhere, my alley closed off, helicopters circling my house ... and absolutely no notice to those of us trapped in our house by the madness. The police didn't come down to the corner and talk to us -- they sat in their cars and yelled at us to go back in our houses. They didn't think that being blockaded in for over three hours might be upsetting. They just locked everything down, diverted traffic and let us wonder.
Why treat citizens this way? How can we get this changed? Really, we were trapped with no explanation for far too long.
Marc Fisher: I don't know what the situation was, so it's hard to comment. The city police have been trying to crack down on juvenile car thieves, who've been killing people at an unacceptable rate, and that could be what was going on, in which case it might be justifiable. But you should be able to get a full explanation at the station on Shepherd Street today--if you don't, then get to council member Adrian Fenty ASAP. He's terrific at responding.
Silver Spring, Md.:
Was that Mayor Williams doing and saying something, gulp, mayoral on McGinty's show a couple of nights ago when discussing the D.C. teen crime spree? Did he say that parents need to keep these minors in the house after dark? Unbelievable! A D.C. mayor pledging as much police support as possible, but asking for help from the parents who the buck stops with? Yay for Mayor Williams! Can he keep it up?
Marc Fisher: He's been talking that way for some time now, whenever a crime story gets big, he jumps into his parental responsibility rap, and that's fine and good--he needs to preach that message. But he also needs to ride his police department harder. This has to be a partnership, and while Williams and Ramsey are both right and correct about bemoaning the state of parenthood in the city, their responsibilities go beyond the bully pulpit.
Marc, love your optimism but get real -- there will be no D.C. baseball team. I fully expect the announcement by the first week in August from baseball -- we have to study the matter some more. They may even say something about the competing Northern Virginia/Washington bids as raising questions. That's the reality.
Marc Fisher: You may be right, though I'd expect the decision in mid-August and if the answer is No, it will almost surely be accompanied not by another delay, but by a statement that Angelos has to be protected from a D.C. team. Still, I remain somewhat optimistic, largely because there simply is no viable alternative. The other cities in the running are a joke, and the owners seem to have run out of patience with Montreal and the silly Puerto Rico experiment.
The Washington Post had in one of their stories today that Edwards is in favor of D.C. statehood and voting rights. And isn't it a little ironic that Norton who stripped the part about D.C. Voting rights from the Democratic platform will be speaking about D.C. voting rights? Sounds like a mixed message to me. She's for D.C. voting rights but against statehood? Last I heard, the District had more residents than Wyoming!
Marc Fisher: Glad to hear it about Edwards, but a veep's position is about as meaningful and important as yours or mine, maybe less so.
But it's perfectly legitimate to be in favor of voting rights and against statehood. Just because we have more people than many states do doesn't mean this should be a state. We can achieve voting rights without statehood through any number of means--Congress can just make it happen, or the District could be reconfigured for voting purposes, or the District could be represented by a Maryland congressman.
Alexandria School Board:
Hello? Is this Marc Fisher?
SPLOT! SPLOOT! SPRACK!
How do you like your eggs?
So Marc, on the prank quality scale, how do you rate the flaming commode in the Market Aquare Fountain?
Marc Fisher: That was a much more clever prank! Someone set a toilet aflame in Alexandria's Market earlier this week--not clear what the message was supposed to be, but it's probably a good tale.
I know this has nothing to do with "Metro" and Potomac Confidential.
But the man is a god.
Marc Fisher: Yes, he is. But I was startled to see a whole slew of editors gathered around a TV a little while ago to watch Armstrong--he's a great athlete, but when a victory is so assured, there's no mystery or excitement to the event, is there?
Petworth, Washington, D.C.:
Oh, we got the explanation on the 11 o'clock news -- there was a shooting up by the Metro. But that didn't help when you've been locked in your house for 2 1/2 hours by screaming cops.
Teen Killed, 3 Wounded Near Metro (Post, July 22)
It was poorly handled.
And yes, Mr. Fenty has already heard from me this morning.
Marc Fisher: Thanks for the info.
Regrding the D.C. congressional seat, aren't we large enough to qualify for two seats?
Why not just dedicate one to each party and be done with it?
Marc Fisher: If we have to start with one seat, let's grab it. From one to two wouldn't be nearly as big a leap as from none to one.
If we start legislating which party gets which seat, we might as well not have elections, right? Though come to think of it, the District's council has a system that mandates that some seats be held by non-Democrats--that always struck me as preposterously undemocratic, so to speak.
Childish or not, the nomination at the convention would have probably garnered at least a mention in the national media and that's exactly what D.C. needs. I can't tell you how many people I know who have no idea that D.C. residents have no representation in the federal government. The problem I have with the D.C. voting rights movement is that all they ever do is preach to the choir. They need to take their message outside the Beltway and start trying to sell our case to the rest of the country.
Marc Fisher: Exactly.
Why do people call her Congresswoman Norton? I am surprised that people strongly for statehood (i.e., Mark Plotkin) would do so, since we need more light on the fact that D.C. doesn't have any congress members.
Marc Fisher: It's inaccurate, wrong and terribly self-destructive to call her congresswoman and it always amazes me to hear the term. (Of course, she uses it, but her main work has always been self-promotion.)
The actual title is Delegate, but it's really a meaningless position since the delegate doesn't vote. Having a delegate is terribly destructive to the goal of real voting representation. The best thing this city could do would be to refuse to have a delegate, to refuse to cooperate with a system that's meant to deprive half a million Americans of the rights and obligations of citizenship.
I know a lot of your sources bring you incriminating documents stuffed in their pants. Are they typically suit pants, or are cargo pants or shorts more effective?
Marc Fisher: The best ones come in big, baggy overalls, but some juicy bits have arrived even in the occasional thong. We're not choosy in this biz.
Marc -- I loved the baseball article on Sunday. Has there been any response from the ownership groups on naming a team after the Grays?
Marc Fisher: Not a word, and I wouldn't expect them to take a position on that--they wouldn't want to take sides on any issue that could in any way alienate a group of fans or baseball executives. Anyway, the local ownership groups are fairly meaningless--in all likelihood, if we were to get a team, baseball would pick out of town owners from among the groups that have been waiting and lobbying for a seat at baseball's table for many years.
Earlier this week I saw a large Penske rental truck parked illegally outside a gov't building (across the street from my government office). No one was with the truck.
I walked into the old USIA building, and spoke with the security guard about the truck. He was unaware it was there (in plain sight, if he'd gotten up out of his seat) and did NOTHING about it. They had no clue who was driving it.
Does this guy have no idea what happened in Oklahoma City? I am so PO'ed about this lack of attention to basic security. I don't know to whom to complain about this. But my office tells me we are all so much safer now that we have Jersey barriers by the front entrances.
Marc Fisher: Most building security is a show, a psychological tool meant more to assure the occupants and visitors than to provide any real protection or investigation of possible threats. Any system that relies wholly on minimum wage rent-a-cops is not a serious attempt to repel any threat.
Stop whining about no representation in Congress, Marc. You chose to live in D.C. knowing you had none. If you don't like it, move. There is no need to amend the Constitution for a bunch of whiners. Move to Maryland. Virginia does not need anymore cry baby whiners.
Marc Fisher: Right, no need to amend the Constitution. A simple vote of Congress will suffice. If it's crybaby whining to expect the most basic democratic right to be a birthright of all Americans, then we need to rejigger our foreign policy in a big, fat way.
Tour de France:
No excitement to watch the Tour de Lance when the result is assured? It's like watching the Ripken victory lap at Camden Yards after he passed Lou Gehrig. It's Red Auerbach light up his victory cigar. It's the ceremony behind it.
Give Mr. Sheryl Crow a break! I suspect that's the real reason every American is watching: they're hoping to catch a glimpse of the lovely Ms. Crow in gay Paree.
Marc Fisher: Good point. What a couple, head to toe. His legs, her lips.
Hey buddy. What's going on in Silver Spring is a crime, the lack of historic preservation is shocking. Did you see what they did to the historic Gramax building ... oh the humanity. When will the madness stop? I hope they never get to the historic Sears bldg on Wisconsin Ave. or the wonderful Giant on Newark Ave.
Marc Fisher: Pretty amazing what passes for historic, especially in a town that has lots of real history along its streets. You'd think that would be enough, but noooooo.
I live in D.C., but not G'town. I gotta say I have always (yup, grew up here -- Go Mighty Hoppers!) HATED those tracks. What makes them particularly awful is that they are on cobblestone streets. So your options are to drive on the tracks and be locked-in, w/out steering, or drive on the cobblestones which are so uneven you get a headache from all the rattling teeth! I say rip up the tracks ASAP
Marc Fisher: You don't like cobblestones either? Man, you're a modernist to the max. Cobblestones are a free trip to the amusement park and a history theme park, all at once. I've always loved them--the sound, that rattling feeling, even the smell when they're wet.
I hate the trolley tracks. No, I don't live in Georgetown, but I sometimes drive there. On my motorcycle. If I manage to get stuck going down a street with tracks -- well, it's a horrid experience is really the only polite way to explain it. They are NOT safe.
Marc Fisher: Not everything in life is safe. Some things are just beautiful or fun or funky or pleasingly old.
Glover Park, Washington, D.C.:
Regarding P and Q streets.
I say, keep the paving stones, but let's loose the rails. They do a number on tires.
I remember once listening to WTOP after a road Orioles game, when there was a huge storm and a massive backup on the Washington Beltway, and the commercials after the game took something like 22 minutes! I was waiting, waiting, waiting for a traffic report to see what the heck was going on. That's when I knew there were too many ads on radio.
I find it interesting that there are several new commercial radio stations (they call it "neo-radio") that play whole songs and comment a little on the title and artist, kind of like what is done on satellite radio.
I also find it interesting that public radio station listenership has gone up something like 61 percent the past five years.
Marc Fisher: Well, there's a mixed message in those facts. Yes, listeners are voting with their ears and leaving broadcast commercial radio with an ever-smaller share of the media market. And yes, public radio listening continues to grow at a very healthy rate. But that's happened as public radio has adopted many of the methods and approaches of commercial radio, with more ads, programming aimed at a larger and less specialized audience, and programming designed to match the demographics of particular groups. But you're right, we are seeing the impact of the new backlash, and commercial radio is starting to see its excesses.
Beautiful Silver Spring, Md.:
Marc, you write about radio so maybe you can answer this question: Why don't the hip-hop/R&B stations in D.C. (WPGC and WKYS) ever say the names of the songs they're playing? It would seem like they would have a vested interest in letting us know, so that we can go out and purchase the music for which the stations essentially serve as gigantic advertising organs.
Marc Fisher: Those stations have bought into the "less talk" notion that listeners want mainly to hear the big hit tunes, and the assumption is that those listeners already know those songs and don't need to be told. This raises the obvious chicken-egg question about how listeners get to know those songs in the first place. Some stations run a live listing of their music on their Web sites -- all stations should do that.
One problem with radio via Internet -- if you can't hear the commercials, who's going to pay the freight?
Marc Fisher: That's the problem with all internet media. Banner ads won't hack it as the revenue stream--some form of subscription will eventually be the ticket, but it hasn't happened yet, despite all manner of predictions that it would.
Those more ummm 'seasoned' among us will remember the good old days of early cable, when there were no commercials on channels like HBO and MTV. It was in fact a wonderful selling point for cable TV. So, my friends, enjoy the satellite commercial-free radio while it lasts. Because it won't last long. At least it is an alternative to the endless drone of commercial radio.
Marc Fisher: I think the cable TV model will work for satellite radio, and you'll end up with a mix of commercially-supported channels and no-ads channels, depending on the style of content.
Re: Arlington :
I have a better idea for Arlington since he seems to think that D.C. residents should move to Va. or Md. to get their birthright to vote; Lets move the Va. state line to encompass D.C. I wonder how the mighty Commonwealth of Va. would like that. Talk about changing the dynamics of Virginia politics.
Anyway, I am in complete agreement that it should be played up greatly at the convention to let the rest of America know that the residents of D.C. are not considered true Americans.
Marc Fisher: Excellent idea--just imagine the culture clash as the District, NoVa and the rest of the Old Dominion face off in Richmond. They could sell visitor gallery tickets at the legislature.
You are wrong about egging being a harmless prank. Dried egg will ruin car paint and house siding. Nothing but repainting/residing will fix it. Very Expensive prank.
Marc Fisher: Quite true. What I said was that egging is an entry-level prank--crude and cheap and easy and yes, destructive. Utterly without cleverness. Which defeats the idea of pranking.
Silver Spring, Md.:
An egging is an emergency worthy of calling 911? Broken window? OK, call 911. But eggs against the side of a house? Spare me. It was most likely motivated by what a youngster heard his/her parent say over dinner. Shame on the parents allowing an adult issue become a child issue, but isn't pressing formal charges the pot calling the kettle black? If something was broken, get restitution and be done with it.
Marc Fisher: Sounds reasonable, but are we really dealing with reasonable folks in this matter? It sure doesn't sound like it from the accounts I've heard.
And yes, even an egging is worthy of police response if you catch the kids who are doing it whilst in the act.
Silver Spring, Md.:
Please let Beautiful Silver Spring know that R&B stations do indeed tell you the names and artists of the songs they play. They just do it after a three or four song set. The idea is to make you listen to all of them in the hopes that you will listen until the end. They keep you listening a little longer than taking the proverbial needle off the record every song.
Marc Fisher: Well, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. And when they don't, which is quite often, it's frustrating as heck if you loved one of those songs.
Kerry and Edwards:
So, which one was pro-tracks and which one was anti-?
Marc Fisher: I wish I knew! I couldn't grab the guy who told the story and I didn't catch his name, alas.
St. Louis, Mo.; Hyattsville, Md.; and Cardinals Nation!:
I'm a Hyattsville resident by choice, and a St. Louis and HUUUGE Cardinals' fan by birth. Doesn't Bud Selig understand that we National League fans are diehard and would come out in scores to support our local teams? If the Orioles played the Cards, I'd drive up there for every game. The D.C. area has so many transplants; it only makes sense that we have a national league team here. I mean, you can't see the likes of Pujols, Bonds, or Randy Johnson at Camden Yards ...
Marc Fisher: Right, right and right. And O's attendance and sponsor support would go up because of baseball's increased profile in the area and because of the new rivalry. Plus, the overlap in fan bases is really quite small.
I don't think we can support a full time baseball team here, so why not have a timeshare with Montreal or Puerto Rico. With Montreal, we could send the Expos to play up there during the mid-July-Labor Day Period when it is too hot to watch a game. Or with PR, the Expos could play there in the early and late season. That seems like it would give each City a fuller stadium.
Can you name five Expos players?
Marc Fisher: Because Montreal and Puerto Rico are proven failures, whereas we live in one of the top sports cities in the country. A team would do very well here.
I can name 10 Expos players, but it hardly matters because the teams are revolving doors and the roster would be completely different by the time they got here.
Falls Church, Va.:
Two points - - -
I used to work in G'town and I always got a kick out of seeing the trolley tracks still in place there, and rode my car right along the rails with no problem ...
As to the question form the reader about egging of a house being a 911 emergency, I just attended a neighborhood watch meeting with Fairfax County officers this week, and they define an incident IN PROGRESS as being one of the conditions that warrants a 911 call. So, if the egg-tossers are still outside your house, that WOULD qualify ...
Marc Fisher: Right. We're fresh out of time, folks, so I'll pass along a couple more of your comments as we head out the door....
Thank you Marc for boosting our efforts to save the Jesse Baltimore House at 5136 Sherier Place, in the Palisades neighborhood of Washington, D.C.! Hundreds of people all over the city and the country are joining with us as we harness our powerful forces to save this historic Sears American foursquare from demolition. Saving the house and improving Palisades Park are both possible as everyone knows. It's unfortunate you were working with incorrect information when you suggested otherwise.
To check out our colorful Web pages, complete with vintage photographs detailing the history of the house, the Baltimore family and the Palisades community, go to: Save the Jesse Baltimore House
Yours for preservation,
Mary Rowse, President
Historic Washington Architecture, Inc.
Marc Fisher: This is the other side in that Palisades house battle I mentioned in today's column.
It's interesting how Anthony Williams and Sharon Pratt Kelly were both shouted down on the issue of parental responsibility. I lived in D.C. in the 1980's when there was no teen curfew. It was a joke. Hopefully, some of this effort to stop the crime wave of a few bad apples will have a positive effect on the other youngsters who have to deal with the effects.
Marc Fisher: Let's hope so, but please don't hold your breath.
Silver Spring Trolley Museum:
Burned down last October. I was driving to work one day and was shocked to see a blackened shell of a building! I think they lost a good deal of the cars in the fire. It's a shame, as I always meant to get over there but now won't have the chance.
Marc Fisher: A huge tragedy, and deeply scarring to the many fine people who put in countless hours volunteering to maintain that splendid collection.
Your Nay of the Day is way off base. D.C. leads a fine line between protesting and those who we need support from to get rights. Why do people like you and Tom Sherwood just want protests all the time (most of which you will not cover?)?
There is a time for protest and a time for winning people over. Take a look at the Democratic convention in Chicago for how protesting can go wrong.
Kerry has co-sponsored statehood bills and the No Taxation Bill. He wants to give us equal rights. We have a speaker who will speak to the top Dems in the country. On the other side Republicans have started to talk about giving us voting rights. We are moving closer to voting rights.
Marc Fisher: Yes, we're moving closer, thanks to Tom Davis' bill. So you'd think that the Democrats, after having supported voting rights for decades, would come aboard. Instead, we get a firm No from Kerry. How anyone can see that as a positive is beyond me.
Marc Fisher: That kicks it in the head for today. More next week, same time, same station, and back in the paper and online with more columns next Tuesday and Thursday.
Thanks for coming along.