Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy Week in the Village

Two "big" events this week in Fairfax Village. Before I get into those events, I want to point out the ridiculousness of having NINE different homeowners associations within the span of three City blocks.... Yes, although all the buildings in the Village are identical, there are nine HOAs. Seven of the Nine HOAs comprise the Community Association. Layers for no reason... just saying.

I will admit that I've never attended a Community Association meeting, but the more I talk to my neighbors the more I think I need to attend. A few little birdies told me there is some tomfoolery going on... You KNOW I don't like tomfoolery. I will more than likely attend.

Side note... Councilmember-at-Large candidate, Clark Ray, may be joining us. AND interestingly enough I received an email from incumbent Councilmember-at-Large Mendelson's office inquiring about the security walk *** raises brow*** This could be interesting. I wasn't planning to attend, but this may be worth me making a cameo appearance.

Community Association Meeting
Tuesday December 1, 2009
6:30 PM at the Management Office
3909-A Pennsylvania Ave

Fairfax Village Security Walk
Friday, December 4, 2009
5:30 PM at the Management Office
3909-A Pennsylvania Ave

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coming for you

One of my neighbors shared the story from the Washington Business Journal about Yes to Organic Markets coming to The Gray Development. (Don't forget that yours truly broke the news too). Also appearing at the bottom of the article is the following: D.C. has already acquired 2337 Pennsylvania Ave. SE and Mayor Adrian Fenty has proposed legislation that would allow the use of eminent domain to acquire property on the 2200-2500 blocks of Pennsylvania Ave. and the 2200-2400 blocks of Minnesota Ave.

The neighbor wanted to know what was currently on those blocks… Well after digging (I could have found WMD faster.. YESH), I found the legislation that outlines the addresses in question.

I'll save my ideas/suggestions for those blocks for another day (sorry it's the urban planner in me). Today I must focus on this notion of eminent domain. I have very strong feelings against it, except in extreme circumstances. While I'm happier than a pig in slop at the possibilities for what a Great Street Pennsylvania Ave SE can be, I'm still uneasy about the government coming in and taking private property after providing "just" compensation.

I just feel that governments have so many tools in their toolbox. Why go to "ED"? (lol... no pun intended). Perhaps the DC government has tried to work with the property owners (the legislation doesn't provide much background... that's a whole other issue). Thinking out loud the government could have:
  • Worked it out with the property owners. Who knows maybe they did... maybe they didn't.
  • Enforced existing laws... A few of the properties are vacant. There is a Vacant Property Law. Not to mention there are laws that regulate liquor stores and food establishments. I'm sure that some of these establishments are violating a health code or two.
  • Create new laws... the DC government could have just as easily passed new zoning laws specific to this location, or design guidelines.

I just hope once the properties are purchased they don't go to one of Fenty's cronies.... Just saying.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Knock Knock... Who's there?

I happened to be out walking my dogs when I noticed three individuals walking around my neighrborhood. One of them happened to be Clark E. Ray, who is running for City Council-at-large. Now... before I go on about Mr. Ray, I just want to point out that since I've been living in Fairfax Village (January 2006) this is the FIRST candidate that I've seen walking around my neighborhood. This includes the three Ward 7 representatives, Chairman Gray and Councilmembers Alexander and Brown... but back to Mr. Ray.

He went door-to-door in Fairfax Village and NOT to talk about his plan and his ideas, but to find out what are the residents' top issues. He said that everyone he spoke to said "public safety". We talked a little about some things that have been happening in the Village. He listened. He didn't jump in with a prepared politician speech. He mentioned that he worked under the Williams Administration as a Neighborhood Services Coordinator and most recently in the Fenty Administration. He was the Director of Parks and Recreation until Fenty gave him the axe. ***side-eye***

I went on his website. I'm VERY impressed with his background. He's worked at the neighborhood, City and Federal level. He has clearly outlined the issues he wants to focus on and his plan. The two that jumped out at me are "Making a Safe City for Everyone" and "Our City's Rich African-American History and Future".

A member of the Fairfax Village Community Association Board and I invited him to join us on our next security walk scheduled for December 4th... Let's see if he shows up.

Oh Mendelson... when are you coming to Ward 7???

Friday, November 20, 2009

I heard it through the grapevine

I heard through my sources that Yes Organic Market will be opening a store in The Grays located at the 2300 block of Penn Ave SE. Well... I drove by today.... and..... there.... is.... a... banner.... that... reads "YES Organic Market... Coming Summer 2010".... Say WORD!!!! *** I interupt this blog to do the cabbage patch***

Safeway... Giant... I'm throwing you the peace sign. Dueces.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Don't talk about it, be about it...

  • Do you want to end generational poverty?
  • Do you want to see young ladies go to college versus having babies?
  • Do you want to see the next generation of leaders?
I'm sure the answer to all these questions are "YES". The District of Columbia College Success Foundation is in critical need of Women mentors for high school girls in Ward 7 and 8. Mentors are asked to give a minimum commitment of 1 hour per month.... Just 1 measly little hour out of a month that you would probably waste anyway.

I've been a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to a young girl who lives in Ward 8 for over 3 years. It has been a rewarding experience to see her mature from a girl into a young lady. I'm going to squeeze another hour out of a month to step up and mentor a young girl.

Let's all step up and make our community a better place. See below for information on how to volunteer.

DC College Success Foundation
(202) 207-1811

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3 WTF moments in a day has to be a record

I had my patience tested yesterday. To recap, I’m the new President of Fairfax Village IV and I have every intention of sweeping out the bad apples. Now some of my neighbors have more compassion than I do… I’m sorry, you either need to ack-rite or get gone. Just saying…

The first order of business is to get rid of the renters that are causing a fuss. Then the next steps will be to ensure ALL owners are aware of the rules and regulations of the HOA, in addition to enforcement of those rules.

I got a phone call yesterday morning from a resident complaining about our trouble unit (drugs and prostitution). The owner is renting the unit to a disabled man receiving a housing voucher. Apparently no one seems to no how to contact the owner of the unit. I contacted the DC Housing Authority. The first person I talked to say she did not have the owner’s information. ***PAUSE*** I grilled her as if I was a prosecutor. I told her I found it hard to believe that you are paying someone rent each month and you don’t know their mailing address. Then she tried to explain that DC Housing Authority does not regulate their tenants. ***SIDE-EYE*** This was my second WFT moment of the call. I told her that I really found it hard to believe that you are paying rent for someone to live in a unit and you don’t have some minimum standards or code of conduct. Then she tried to brush me off saying that an inspector would call me… eventually.

I gave up on her and contacted the Ward 7 Community Service Representative in the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Service. He provided me a name and number of someone else to contact in DC Housing Authority. This lady informed me that the Housing Authority does have good neighbor rules. She was going to follow-up.

Magically an inspector from Housing called me. VERY nice man. He explained the process to removing a tenant, the “powers” (or lack thereof) of the Authority, and provided advice on how to deal with the situation. The result was he was able to put me in contact with the owner.

NOW… here’s my WTF moment number 3…. In the span of half a workday, I was able to get the name, email address, and mailing address of the owner; however, everyone else “claims” they’ve been trying for several months to find the owner.

I can see now I’m going to have my hands full with this position.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get Healthy for the Holidays

You asked for healthy food options in our neighborhood. YOU'VE GOT IT! Come to the Riverside Center (Division and Foote) THIS SATURDAY to order your fresh vegetables and fruit box. (Come for the fruit and veggies, stay for the cider, holiday carols, and parade!)

The boxes are $11 (that's right!) with an option to purchase a turkey ($13), organic 1/2 gal milk ($3.25), organic dozen eggs ($3.50), and an all fruit box. All boxes will include a Healthy Solutions for the Holidays book with recipes from Chef Eric Gilliam a rising African-American chef who has been an Executive Chef for several 5 star hotels. He focuses on healthy, affordable, and easy to make meals for families. The book also contain information on food access East of the River, healthy eating tips, and active living information.

Boxes include*: (variety of 9 of the below items)
􀂙 6 Sweet or Russet Potatoes
􀂙 1lb Green Beans
􀂙 4 Ears of corn
􀂙 1 Bell Pepper
􀂙 1 large Head of Cabbage
􀂙 2 Tomatoes
􀂙 6 Oranges and/or Tangerines
􀂙 1 Celery or Bunch Broccoli
􀂙 3 Large Onions (Red or Yellow)
􀂙 1 Bunch of Carrots
􀂙 3 Bunches of Greens or Lettuce (Mustard, Green Leaf, Kale, Collard, or Turnip)
􀂙 6 Apples (Granny Smith, Holiday, Gala or Macintosh)
􀂙 Healthy Solutions for the Holiday Recipe Book
Add on Items (for an additional price)
􀂙 Certified Organic Eggs
􀂙 Certified Organic Milk
􀂙 Local Organically Raised Turkey (10-15lb)

*Items may change due to harvest availability
All orders must be postmarked or received, by 5:30 pm on Saturday, November 21, 2009 and by 5:30pm on Saturday, December 19, 2009

Healthy Solutions will deliver to Senior Centers and Community Organizations.
If your organization is looking to order, and needs delivery please contact Tanikka at 1-888-415-2667 x 702, www.healthysolution, or tcunningham@ healthysolutions

Guess that object

So... I was walking my dogs over the weekend and happen to see this small purple bag on the ground on V St SE. NOW I may have been born at night, but I wasn't born LAST night. Perhaps I'm being presumptuous.... So let's play the guess what was in that baggie game...
  • Earrings? Nope. I've never seen studs in a bag THAT small. Plus most of the people in my neighborhood wear big earrings.
  • Body jewelry? mmmmmmmm... I'm going to have to go with no. I have a bellyring, and most of the baggies they come in don't have a resealable top.

Then I struggled a little, so I decided to consult the Urban Dictionary. According to the dictionary the baggy most likely contained weed. Mmmmmmmmmmmm... nah. I don't think weed. If I were to venture a guess.... based on the clientele of the neighborhood.... I would say it's a crack bag.

As a side note.... I went on E-Bay. You can buy 200 baggies that size for the price of $1.99. How convenient.

Needless to say... Fairfax Village has our work cut out to rid the Village of drugs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Oh God Bless the Catholics

Oh this same-sex marriage thing has a new twist. The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has threaten to withhold almost $10 million in funding to social programs in DC. Let me disclose that for all intents and purposes, I'm Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic Church.... I've gone through all the relevant sacraments and even sponsored someone in becoming Catholic... Hopefully this blog post won't get me excommunicated... LMAO.

While I respect the church's position on same-sex marriage, I'm not sure how I feel about this ultimatum. On the one hand, it's their money and they can do what they want with it. Just like any organization you want to support programs and initiatives that are aligned with your mission.

However, is the church willing to make the recipients of these social programs suffer? I mean we are talking about programs for the homeless and adoption. Doesn't the Catholic Church have other issues to deal with... like declining membership in the churches or saving some souls? I know when I go to St. Francis on Penn Ave SE, the church is empty.

I guess the real question is "What would Jesus do?"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The way I see it, you aren't my issue in 5 years

Well... it's no secret. Fairfax Village has a drug problem. We have two drug hot spots (38th and Alabama; and W Street). In addition, we have the dopeboy who makes his rounds... (who knew dealers made house calls?). Despite that I don't like have any crime in my neighborhood, I will at least give the dopeboys credit... they do keep to themselves and don't like to draw attention.

As I look at these young brothers, all I can do is shake my head. Sure the money is good NOW. The reality is no one has ever made a fruitful career out of drugdealing... (well minus the pharma companies... hehe). These young men (teenage to early 20s) will either be dead or in jail in the next five years. It's real sad....

How do we fix the problem? How do we give these young men a future?

Monday, November 9, 2009

When you flush your toilet, do you know what happens?

If you can, I urge you to attend the meeting or the libraries listed below to learn more about this project. In case you don't know a combined sewer system means that when it rains the rain water goes into the sewer system. In heavy rain events, the system discharges into the Anacostia River. Yes, discharges rain and raw sewage. It is one of the many reasons the Anacostia is so nasty.

As a side note, I did my Masters thesis on the Anacostia River. You couldn't pay me enough money to even be within 2000 feet of the riverbank.... Just sayin...

Learn about the DC WASA Combined Sewer Overflow Projects
Hear how they will reduce pollution in our local waterways and help reduce
flooding in your neighborhoods.

2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE Third Floor
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Additional information is available at the following locations

Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
901 G Street, NW

Capitol View Library
5001 Central Avenue, SE

Mount Pleasant Library
3160 16th Street. NW

Northeast Library
330 7th Street. NE

Southeast Library
403 7th St. SE

Shepherd Park Library
7420 Georgia Avenue, NW

Tenley-Friendship Library
4200 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Washington Highlands Library
115 Atlantic Street SW

Woodridge Library
1801 Rhode Island Avenue, NE

If you are unable to attend the meeting and have further questions, or would like to comment on the project, contact DC WASA Office of Public Affairs at 202-787-2200 or email

For more information, visit, click on What We Do, Project Initiatives then click on Long Term Control Plan.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Better Recognize

I'm super excited that the Great Streets Pennsylvania Ave project is soon to be underway. According to the news, the plan to break ground within the next few months. SWEET!!! Penn Ave is a Great Street, especially for those of us living in the East.

Why is Penn Ave so great? In my humble little opinion, here's why:
  • The United States Capitol (yes I really did have to spell it out) faces Penn Ave. Don't be fooled. The lawn may be on the West, but the Capitol faces EAST!!! When I drive to the gym at o'dark hundred, I'm greeted by one of the most beautiful glowing pieces of architecture with a black backdrop. It's almost looks as it someone painted it on the sky. Even though I'm half awake, it is one of the most breath-taking views. If you get a chance, drive west on Penn Ave from Branch Ave in the wee hours of the morning (less traffic).
  • It's the same street as the White House. I'm just saying.... Don't let the SE versus NW throw you off. It's the same street.
  • It goes through Fort Dupont Park. Nothing like being in the middle of an urban area and driving through a forest.

Any who.... Here is the article from the Washington Post talking about the multi-million dollar project. The one thing that I'm MOST grateful for is the project isn't identified as being in Ward 7 (not that I would mind), but the recognize that there are neighborhoods here. I bolded that paragraph for emphasis!!! I will be emailing the author.

Project aims to make Pennsylvania Ave. a 'Great Street'
By Ovetta Wiggins

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009

A 1 1/2 -mile stretch along Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast Washington is about to get a multimillion-dollar facelift.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) and city and federal transportation officials announced plans for the D.C. Department of Transportation's Great Streets: Pennsylvania Avenue project on Thursday.

The District will spend $30 million of the money it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to spruce up the corridor through the streetscape improvement project. The District received $123.5 million in stimulus money to be spent on
transportation projects, such as $36.5 million in repairs to the New York Avenue Bridge over the CSX Railroad and $4 million to install 200 miles of sidewalks throughout the District.The section of Pennsylvania Avenue -- from 27th Street to Southern Avenue -- will get a median, new curbs, a gutter, pavement, landscaping and upgraded utilities.

The project will also include improvement of signal operations and the construction of three rain gardens.

"This project, through its comprehensive design, is strongly focused on reestablishing historic neighborhoods and will create a unifying place where neighborhoods from north and south of the corridor can come together to shop, visit, play, learn and live without being separated any longer by extreme traffic conditions," Fenty said.

Work will be done in four phases from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

The area includes the neighborhoods of Fairlawn, Randall Highlands, Hillcrest and Fairfax Village.

City officials said the program is designed to improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods and create economic development opportunities.

"DDOT could not be more pleased to be part of this historic transformation along this culturally rich corridor," said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. "It will not only improve the character of the neighborhood but, more important, provide a safer walkable environment for residents and visitors to this area."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bling Bling???

I just learned of a disturbing statistic via my neighborhood listserv... In 2000, only 50% of the population in Ward 7 responded to the Census. Pardon me while I grab my heart like Fred Sanford... "I'm coming Elizabeth".... Okay I'm back. While I haven't been able to verify that statistic, it's still shocking. I blogged about the lack of outreach in Ward 7 and 8 for the 2010 Census.

As a real life example of how the Census is used... In my previous life, I was a highway planning engineer for the Federal Highway Administration. I oversaw the distribution of MILLIONS of dollars in highway funding in the State of North Carolina. The distribution of money was based on... guess what??? Population!!!!

People, People, People. I can't express enough how important the 2010 Census is to not only DC, but also our neighborhood. I know I sound like a broken record, but for Ward 7 this 2010 Census is CRITICAL. Real estate brokers court new businesses using demographic data. That data comes from... guess what??? The U.S. Census.

I encourage you to go to the U.S. Census website to learn more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Should I hold my breath???

One of the reasons I decided to move to Fairfax Village, was the promise of the Skyland Development. Well, it's 4.5 years later and I'm still looking at the same grungy buildings. I can't complain too much, since their some residents who have been waiting since day 1.

On the Hillcrest website they have an article written by Hunter Gorbinson called "What will it take to finally get the Skyland Project Open?" Great article. I mean it is like watching grass grow. I big question is who is going to be the anchor tenant. I know that residents (including myself) will lose it, if it is Walmart. The last community meeting, Walmart was mentioned and it was pretty after that.

At any rate... mark you calendars for the next bruha.

Public Hearing Zoning Commission
On December 10, 2009 at 6:30 PM. There will be a public meeting with the Zoning Commission to be held at One Judiciary Square located at 441 4th Street, NW Room 220 South, Washington, DC 2001. If you have any questions please contact Sam J. Rank of The Rappaport Companies via or phone (571) 382 -1236.