- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So in the tradition of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Reincarnation Season, the Shopping Season, the Holiday Season or a season that escapes memory, good cheer and merriment to all.

This is to acknowledge the 24 percent pay increase that has been stuffed in the stockings of D.C. Council members. These industrious lawmakers have awarded themselves a hefty raise in the spirit of the season, just as any workers would do if they had the same latitude. A special citation to Kathy Patterson, Carol Schwartz and Kwame R. Brown who voted against the measure and the concept of: It is better to receive than preserve taxpayer money.

Here’s to the Fun Street gang: Zack Bolno, Brian Sereno and Daren Jenkins. And the Fun Street sage, Jack Miles. And the Poet, too. He is forever the Poet, the nation’s leading proponent of free rhyme.

This is to wish Ernie Grunfeld, Eddie Jordan, Matt Williams, Rick Moreland and Jerry Walter the best. And Tony Cheng. It is his transformed neighborhood, after all.

Don’t look now, but there is another building with overpriced condominiums going up in a section of the city near you. We have seen the future, and it is a one-bedroom, two-bath condominium priced to sell at $495,000, but only if you are willing to be an urban pioneer.

This is to note the tirelessness of Paul Uppole, the greatest Philippine running back in the history of the Georgetown University football program. And his better half, Daiva Kacenauskaite, the leggy, Lithuanian blonde who is disappointed in Darius Songaila’s temperamental back.

No one is apt to prepare a better holiday feast than Gene Sohn, one of the city’s premier Korean chefs. They do not call him the Seoul Man of Downtown because of the garlic wafting in the air. He can make a mean kimchi seemingly straight out of an Itaewon kitchen.

This is to just say no to a business district’s most crippling bureaucratic act: liquor-license moratorium. Several otherwise respectable neighborhoods have enough boarded-up storefronts to show the shortsightedness of the moratorium.

You want a clothing boutique? You find the sucker willing to sign a lease and guarantee agreement with monthly rents eclipsing five figures in the fashionable parts of the city.

Here is to the entrepreneurial vigor of the small business in varying states of health: the Zoo Bar, Nanny O’Brien’s, Woodley Cafe, Caravan Grill, Exhale Lounge, Floriana Mercury Grill, Rumba Cafe and the Bacchus Restaurant.

This is to note the passing of the original Austin Grill on Wisconsin Avenue and express the hope that the JP’s Nightclub eventually leases the space. Or perhaps one of the We Love You Long Time establishments in the neighborhood will expand there.

Season’s greetings to the good folks of Kavanagh’s on Wisconsin Avenue, the House of Wonders on H Street Northeast and the Wonderland Bar and Grill on Kenyon Street Northwest.

Memo to the landlords along Eighth Street Southeast. Your commercial strip is not part of the new ballpark district, not even close to the suburbanites who will fill the majority of seats, so stop touting the ballpark’s vague proximity as a justification to raise rents. The spillover effect from the new ballpark will be negligible.

All the best to the Greeks: George Kretikos, Thomas Papadopoulos and Dimitri Mallios. And not to forget Stephen O’Brien. Or Steve McKinney and Joe Mahoney.

Here is a toast to Lupo, Amy, Tamela, Tony, Bill, Jeffrey, John, Darrell, Britney, Alice, Tom, Tim, Kevin, Reggie, Brent, Freddie and Grover Bark. And the Texas crew: Billye, Lynn and Jodi.

Long live the irrepressible Fred Sternburg and the merchants who led the Skyland Rebellion in Southeast. They fought the good fight against the grinchlike social engineers who employed the expanded powers of eminent domain to orchestrate the sale of private property to private interests.

That is a cold notion in this otherwise celebratory season.

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