Campus Notebook: Ford Eatery Moves

Posted July 25, 2008 at 5:53pm

The Skenteris family has only a few weeks until they are forced out of the Ford cafeteria, but staffers who miss their gyros and rice pilaf won’t have to travel far.

[IMGCAP(1)]The family has opened an identical restaurant in the Voice of America building at 330 Independence Ave. SW. They’ll maintain both locations until they move out of the Ford Building on Sept. 12 — in time for Restaurant Associates, the company that runs the House cafeterias, to take over on Sept. 22.

“We’re making such an easy transition for everyone,” said Artemis Dimopoulos, who runs the cafeteria and nearby carryout with her brother, Christopher Skenteris, and her parents, Jordan and Soula Skenteris. “It couldn’t be written better.”

Originally, the family’s last day was Feb. 15, soon after Restaurant Associates took over the contract for the House cafeterias. But after the family expressed anxiety over moving after almost 15 years at Ford, Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard extended their contract for six months.

The new restaurant is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Most employees (all who want to) will continue to work for the family at the new location, Skenteris said.

Gorbey Sentencing Delayed. The sentencing for Michael Gorbey, who came to Capitol Hill armed last winter, has been delayed until Aug. 1.

Capitol Police officers found Gorbey with a loaded shotgun, a sword and ammunition in January. A later search of his truck turned up a tin can filled with explosive black powder.

In May, he was convicted of 14 charges, including possession of a weapon of mass destruction. His sentencing was originally scheduled for July 25.

Gorbey represented himself during the trial, and he still hasn’t given up: He has filed several motions since his conviction. On Monday, he submitted a “pro-se motion to stay proceedings,” asking that his motions be reviewed by another court.

“[T]he ends of Justice and requirements of due process will not be met with until this case is reviewed by A Judiciary Authority other than the Presiding Judge,” Gorbey argues in his handwritten motion.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson presided over the trial, often stopping the proceedings to chastise Gorbey for not following court rules. Gorbey repeatedly insisted that there was a government conspiracy against him, and prosecutors constantly objected to his questions to witnesses.

The Right to Clutter. Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.) is refusing to follow a new hallway policy that forbids furnishings outside Members’ offices, arguing that he should be allowed to keep a memorial to fallen soldiers.

Last week, he introduced legislation to create an exception to the policy and

allow displays of “tributes to members of the Armed Forces killed in United States engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard announced the hallway policy in May, citing an effort to prevent accidents from hallway clutter. The policy forbids such furnishings as signs, easels, electronic kiosks and sign-in tables.

Jones argues that the memorial displays haven’t posed any obstacles in the years they’ve been up. He has refused to take his down.

“For those of us who display these memorials, it is important they remain visible to the hundreds of visitors who pass through the House office buildings each day,” Jones said in a press release. “They are a respectful reminder of the cost of war and the heroic sacrifices of those who have given their lives to preserve the freedoms all Americans enjoy today.”

Pay for Fighting Staffers. House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) introduced a bill last week that would ensure that House employees received their full salary if they were called away for active military duty.

The bill directs the Chief Administrative Officer to pay employees the difference between their military pay and their base House salary. House Administration ranking member Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) co-sponsored the legislation.

It would apply only to those in the armed forces reserves who are called to active duty for more than 30 days. It’s also limited to those who work in the House for at least 90 days before being called to active duty.

Separate Money for Lawyers. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced a bill last week that would give the Law Library of Congress its own line item in the annual budget.

The bill would also establish a Law Library support program that would be able to accept donations and provide services to the Law Library.

Law librarians throughout the country have long advocated for the Law Library to have more independence and more funding. It’s a subset of the LOC and has minimal say over its budget.

But librarian groups have described the library’s services as “third rate,” while its collection is unparalleled. One-third of its collections remains uncatalogued and thus hard to find.

In previous hearings, supporters of a separate line item claimed that it would show potential donors that their money isn’t replacing Congressional support.

And the support program, they argue, would help separate donations for the LOC from those specifically for the Law Library.

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