I am reading an open letter slipped under my door by our neighborhood commissioner, a woman named Beth Kravetz. In the letter she reports on the local fire station at Tenley Circle on Wisconsin Avenue. The station is home to a pumper and a hook-and-ladder truck that cover a good stretch of predominantly white, mostly affluent Northwest Washington, D.C.

She writes that "true to the spirit of self-reliance," a group is forming in the virtual suburb surrounding American University to collect donations for the firehouse: among the items needed are three shower heads, eleven pillows, forty gym lockers, three space heaters, a dishwasher, three wall clocks, five air conditioners and four refrigerators.
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