Capital Citizen with Clinton Yates (Feb. 24)

Feb 24, 2014

Local columnist Clinton Yates takes your questions about politics, pop culture, people and whatever else you like from D.C.

Alright kiddos, we're having some technical issues, so I'm opening up the chat early, so you can get your questions submitted. I'll be touching on a lot of things this week including the Corcoran, medical marijuana, and of course, the D.C. mayor's race.

I'll be back at 1 p.m. to get things started.

We're back. Pardon the issues earlier, things seem to be operating normally now. Thanks for hanging in there.

The pothole situation in the District is getting out of hand. Rhode Island Ave is downright dangerous and haven't seen any evidence of repairs. What are your thoughts?

This is a tricky one. For one, potholes are a necessary evil of living in an area with the climate of the D.C. area, with as many cars and roads as it has.

To start, I'd point everyone to Ashley Halsey III's story about the problem from over the weekend. 

As for fixing them, that depends on your jurisdiction. Here's a handy list for the region. 


More generally, though, you have to wonder how high of a priority this really should be for any city. Obviously, road safety is an important thing, but at what cost and labor? The easiest way to avoid potholes, I'd say, is to not drive. But that's also not an option that most people can employ. And on particularly bad roads, it certainly affects bikers, too.

It'd be great to see the city out there patching up potholes as quickly as they were created. But I'll bet that then people would complain about all the traffic backups that would cause.

Potholes are a part of life in D.C. driving. Another good way to minimize the damage? Slow down.

Georgetown recently proposed building a gondola over the Potomac to reach Virginia. Thoughts?

As ridiculous as this sounds, I kind of love the idea. OF course, it's so very Georgetown in its nature, implying that people are too good for roads or walking and therefore must need ski-resort style accomodations to stay above the fray.

But presuming these things aren't set at luxury level prices, and are remotely accesible to the average tourist or commuter, it'll probably be a big hit. I have a feeling that the FAA's input will likely become the deciding factor in all this.

Did you root for USA Hockey? What are your thoughts on their putrid performance?

Well, for one, I'm going to presume you're referring to the men's team. To call a team that finished 4th out of a 12-team tournament "putrid" is a massive overstatement that reeks of the usual American superiority complex when it comes to sports. 

Secondly, to answer  your first question, yes, I did. I'm an American.

If you follow hockey on any level, you know that in a tournament like the Olympics, the U.S. probably is just about the 4th best hockey nation there. Not saying there's a whole ton of difference at the top, but there's certainly enough to not expect the U.S. to walk onto the medal stand just for showing up.

And when they lost to Canada, I, for one, figured their tournament was done right then and there. I happened to be right about that. 

As for the women, they lost a heartbreaker in the Gold Medal game. Far from putrid, if you ask me. 

What did you think of The Washington Post's endorsement of Muriel Bowser for mayor?

Honestly, I found the wording of it interesting. If you didn't see it, click here.

The headline "Muriel Bowser for District mayor" seems to assume the long-held colloquial belief that the Democratic primary actually is the general election. And while in practice that may bear out to be true, as far as the election is concerned, it's not. 

Theoretically, almost anyone could step in as an independent, or gasp, a Republican, and still win. One such person is David Catania, who is a  D.C. Council member, (I-At Large).

Catania is popular, has a strong record and would be the first non-Democrat, nevermind white and openly gay mayor to serve if he did win. Those odds might seem long, but in a proverbial one-off against a Democratic candidate, it's certainly doable.

It doesn't get much smarter than this Girl Scout!,d.dmQ&cad=rja

Ha, yeah this story is pretty funny on a couple levels. For one, she has a relatively clear understanding of how use of marijuana works from an appetite standpoint. So, good for her on that. If her troops doesn't give her some sort of a merit badge for targeted marketing, that's too bad.

But this also is an interesting story from an overall outlook standpoint. If you'd told some parents 25 years ago that a girl would be selling her cookies outside of a place directly affiliated with drugs, there might be a national uproar. I'm sure in some corners, there still is.

But from what I've seen, for the most part, people are just calling this girl smart for her strategy, rather than misguided and unduly influenced by 'drug culture.'

Marc Fisher wrote a heck of a story about this changing phenomenon of attitudes toward pot. Check it out.

Hi Clinton! My question is about the Sliver Line. I was out in Tysons on Saturday and saw the trains running and one new station. Exciting stuff for a system that has not seen many changes in…a while! But I don’t understand why they are going to run the line along the tracks with Blue and Orange instead of asking passengers to change trains at Rosslyn. I have heard that the reasoning behind this is so that out of town visitors coming from Dulles don’t have to deal with the “confusion” of changing trains. But since the construction is so behind anyway, who knows when the Dulles airport passengers will actually be a factor. And with all the discussion from Metro that the reason they cannot run more 8 car trains during rush hour because of system capacity issues, why is it at all reasonable to add more trains from a new line onto the old system? I live in Rosslyn so I don’t personally have anything to complain about, but boy am I glad we didn’t move to somewhere on the Blue line instead. Those folks seem to keep getting a bad news regarding their Metro service.

I actually think you answered your own question. The long term goal of easing service to Dulles it the whole reason the line got built in some minds, so creating a system to most easily allow for that makes sense to me.

As for the Blue line, sure, it's not ideal, but think of it this way. The Blue Line has the least amount of stops of any line that aren't also serviced by another line, too. Meaning, if some particular group has to take a bad deal, I can understand why the Blue Line is lower on the priority list.

I live in the Fairlington area and this past Saturday I was out for a walk and I swear I saw a bald eagle flying over my neighborhood. I know they have been colonizing the Potomac and that last year one took residence at the East Potomac park golf course. But Fairlington ? Please tell me I'm not imagining this.

I don't know why, but this question is cracking me up. Are you asking me if bald eagles are gentrifying the skies of Fairlington? If so, how much do you think your breathable air prices are going to go up?

Maybe next thing we know they'll be littering the streets with leftover microbrews and ruining all the dog parks in the area, too. 

I'm a bit torn - on the one hand, I think it's a great solution and will allow the institution to continue its mission with GWU and NGA. On the other hand, the campus of GWU just keeps growing and taking over the neighborhood(s)! It's sad - other cities manage to have major private museums, and the inability of Corcoran leadership to manage their institution well strikes me as a self-inflicted wound.

I wouldn't be so sure that this will allow the institution to continue its mission. Yes, maybe in the literal sense that the name and brand won't die, but with a fate almost completely at the nads of NGA and GWU, why would anything stay the same?

The whole reason they're in this position is because the Corcoran was not exactly a money-making enterprise in its current state. Those two groups didn't take over the gallery and school to do nothing, I presume. Which is the scary part.

I wrote a column about the situation on the ground last week. But going forward, I hope that GWU and the NGA can understand the Corcoran's importance locally and not suck the soul out of one of the best art communities in the area. 

What do you think will eventually happen to the school and the artwork?

I think the school stands the most to lose. Sure, it'll be sad if the Corcoran's collection gets distributed among those searching for it around the city and country. But the lives of all those people who worked so hard to teach and educate others about the arts, if those efforts go unrewarded, will be a real shame.

Talking to students and alums last week, the most pressing concern was the name on the diploma. Kids go to Corcoran to get a Corcoran degree, because that means something in the art world that the George Washington University name doesn't, even if a good school in its own right. 

I'm a couple of weeks late in this, but I really enjoyed your article about Norbert Putnam's recollection of the Beatles concert in DC. It sounds like he was enjoyable to talk to and must have a lot of great stories about his career in the studio. Studio musicians deserve a lot more attention and affection than they receive.

Thank you! And you're not late, we had a holiday last Monday so there was no chat. I actually got in contact with him because he was a friend of a friend. But yes, he was a delight to talk to.

If you didn't read the column, here it is. Putnam's Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section played backup for all the opening acts of the Beatles first U.S. concert which was in D.C. 50 years ago. 

He's a hell of guy who knows how to tell a good story, too. And anyone who's played with Elvis Presley is always a guy to share a tale with. 

Well, I was shocked if they're flying around a suburban environment but also thinking about all the little dogs in the neighborhood.

Haha, fair enough. The scourge of bald eagles gentrifying the suburban skies and grounds sounds like a great story for my colleague Tom Jackman.

How excited are you for baseball season? Will any of your twitter tales be baseball related? Any interest in doing a Nats tweet-up?

Extremely excited. Baseball is my favorite sport, so this time of year is always fun. And my good friend James Wagner covers the team, so be sure to read his work.

I haven't done any Twitter tales in a long time (the column-writing takes up most of that effort now) but I just might soon.

As for a tweet-up, I'm always game. You know where to find me. @clintonyates

We briefly had some fantastic weather and we're starting to get Spring Training reports. So how are you feeling about the Nats this year? Any of the off-season moves that particularly stood out to you?

I lovelovelove the Doug Fister acquisition. He might not be a huge part, necessarily, but adding a solid arm to the rotation never hurts. 

This might be inside softball, literally, but who are your heavy favorites in the MMSL this year? Gimme your top 1-2-3-4.

Haha, the MMSL is the Metropolitan Media Softball League, which me and some of my colleagues play in for about two months every summer. It's tons of fun.

As for my top 4, in no particular order, I'd have to say CSN is up there again, presuming their team is still intact. NBC 4 always has a good squad, and of course the Post squad is steadily improving. Which reminds me, I have an announcement to make.

Since our paper was bought, we've decided to change our softball team's mascot. Not that we officially had one, but whatever. From here on out, we'll be referred to as ....... (drum roll)......

The WaPo Drones. I think you can figure out why.

That's all I got for today folks, thanks for joining me on a brisk day for some fun talk. See you next week, and keep warm!

In This Chat
Clinton Yates
Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. He was born at GWU hospital the week before Ronald Reagan ended up there for the wrong reasons. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.
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