Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Please put this number in your phone while you are still sober



PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.... if you are going out on New Year's Eve and you plan to drink, save this number in your phone NOW while you are still sober. I have lost too many friends to drunk driving. I have one friend from college who is permanently paralyzed from the waist down, because he was in a car with a drunk driver. I have a friend who was broad sided by a drunk driver a few months ago. It's not worth it.

If I catch you swerving, I will snitch. I have no tolerance or patience for drunk drivers. Please help spread the word.

How the program works
If you are over 21, after your night of partying call 1-800-200-TAXI (8294). The dispatched will send a taxi to pick you up. The taxi will take you to your designation for FREE (up to $50). You MUST call the number and go through dispatch to get the free ride.

For more information go to the Washington Regional Alcohol Program website.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sacrifice for beauty... plan accordingly

***DDOT TRAFFIC ADVISORY***

Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Great Streets Project
To Begin Monday, December 28, 2009
Temporary Lane Closures Scheduled


(Washington, D.C.) - The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to begin infrastructure and roadway construction work on the Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Great Streets Project on Monday, December 28, 2009, weather permitting.

The Pennsylvania Avenue, SE Great Streets project covers 2 miles of construction from 200 ft. west of 27th Street to Southern Avenue and will include the installment of a median, streetscape, utility upgrades, new curb, gutter, pavement and landscaping.

During the first five months of the project (weather permitting), the pre-phase work will not require permanent lane closures, however, motorists are advised that temporary closures will be in place. Once the initial pre-phase is completed, the remaining construction will be conducted in four full phases with permanent lanes closures in effect (not scheduled to begin until May 2010).

During the pre-phase, work will require single lane closures at specified locations from 27th Street to Southern Avenue both in-bound and outbound on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Work Hours during the pre-phase will be from 9:30am – 3pm Monday through Saturday.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty along with District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Gabe Klein and representatives from the Federal Highway Administration recently kicked-off the project taking the opportunity to thank other city agencies, regional partners and especially the community and neighbors who have been a part of the planning of the project from the beginning.

The project is designed to create a safe place where residents, visitors and regional travelers can travel over, across, to and through the corridor on foot, bus or car with ease and comfort while developing a street that is kind to the natural and human environment with majestic trees, enhanced park spaces, and reduction of the environmental impact of the corridor.
Details of the project and pending phases can be seen on the project website at www.ddot.dc. gov/pennave. The location of the project construction office is 2410 Minnesota Avenue SE. The office staff can be reached at (202) 641-6739 and walk-in hours are Monday through Thursday 1 to 4 pm.

The Revolution will NOT be televised... but it might be blogged

The one thing I can't stand more than sub-par services is a nasty azz attitude when I call you on it. I emailed the owner of our maintenance company to let her know that I was disappointed in the quality of snow and ice removal. I also outline where they failed to fulfill their duties as outlined in the contract. I ended the email by asking when I could expect these items to be addressed. I even asked two co-workers to read it before I sent it to make sure I didn't come off nasty.

NOW in a perfect customer service world I expect an email back that says something like this: "Ms. V. Thank you for your email. I can assure you that our crews are working hard to address snow and ice removal in Fairfax Village. I ask for your patience as this was an unusual storm event for DC and our company was not equip to handle the volume." If I had received this in my inbox, I probably would have let this issue go.

BUT instead I got all types of lipservice. The opening paragraph of the response was this: I disagree with you in reference to the quality of service provided for snow removal. Brown Home Improvement was and is in compliance with its contract with Fairfax Village as well as with DC law. I think your feeling of disappointment is premature. I believe it's unreasonable to acknowledge the unusual circumstances and not acknowledge the extra time and labor it's taking to address the circumstances. All of your concerns are valid and we welcome you to contact us whenever you have an issue or concern."

Is it premature to expect that by Tuesday morning, over 48 hours AFTER the snow stopped, the sidewalks would be clear? Oh and by the way, they didn't show up yesterday AT ALL. Oh and by the way she wasn't on the property on Sunday to confirm the quality of snow and ice removal. The the email blabs for about 6 sentences about this was the biggest storm in history... blah blah blah. She goes on to say that they cleared the sidewalks on Sunday and the packed snow that I see is snow that fell on the sidewalk.

***PAUSE*** I walked my dogs three times on Sunday and three times on Monday. At NO point in any of those walks was the sidewalk visible. She and I exchanged a few more emails. Trying to understand why I'm getting all this extra with my village pays over $5,000 a month for their "services". I left it at "I look forward to seeing the sidewalks and driveways cleaned per the contract. Thanks for your attention to this matter."

She popped an attitude with the WRONG one. In talking with some old timers in the village she apparently nasty to everyone because she knows she has the CA President in her pocket. As far as I'm concerned, she can lose the 'tude.

Don't let me have to stage a coup d'etat out this peace. ***raises brown*** Interesting idea.

Monday, December 21, 2009

UGH..... What happen to standards?

Maybe the NyQuil and this cold is affecting me, but I'm in a crabby mood. Before I get on my soap box, let me explain how Fairfax Village is all tribal and what not. Fairfax Village is made up of nine individual HOAs (yeah... don't ask). Seven of the nine HOAs comprise the Fairfax Village Community Association. The President of the CA signs all contracts on behalf of the seven HOAs. That being said....

Some of the CA Board Members have expressed concern from their respective boards on the quality of work (or lack thereof) of our maintenance company. The CA President, who by the way owns here but does not live here, said she wanted proof. ***rolls eyes*** Maybe if she lived here, she would see for herself (oops did I say that outloud... whatevs)

I emailed the Village IV CA Representative to outline where the Maintenance Company has NOT fulfilled the requirements of the contract. Below are photos of alleged snow removal. REALLY??? SERIOUSLY?

This is a photo of the sidewalk between Village IV and V. There's about 2 inches of ice, that I almost busted my hindparts on this morning. Am I wrong for expecting to actually see the sidewalk? FAIL!!!


This is a photo of the driveway that leads to the parking lot, garages and dumpster. Per the contract, they are required to clear this driveway and access to the dumpsters. The cleared line that you see is from people driving out of the driveway. FAIL!
While I'm not one to be all willynilly with assertion of power, I did request the Treasurer NOT to pay any invoice related to snow and ice removal until we discussed what was and was not done per the contract documents. UGH... I'm going back to sleep.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Don't Die of Shock... But I support Mayor Fenty

I never thought I'd see the day where I endorse something Mayor Fenty said. I FULLY support the statement that Mayor Fenty just issued... Stay off the streets!!!

Washington, DC) Mayor Adrian M. Fenty is making an urgent request to residents and visitors to stay off city streets until after the snow storm has passed.

“With the storm upgraded to a Blizzard, our snow team is reporting visibility in the District is very low,” said Mayor Fenty. “While I recognize people want to get out and enjoy the snow, there is a significant safety concern as pedestrians are walking along city streets instead of sidewalks.” “I am urging everyone to take extra precautions if you need to be out and if you do not, to please stay off the District roadways.”

Earlier today, Mayor Fenty along with District Department of Transportation Director Gabe Klein and Department of Public Works Director William O. Howland, Jr. asked people to stay home and for vehicles to stay off the roadways. Now they are hoping to keep all unnecessary activities off DC streets.

The National Weather Service recently categorized the system in the District as a Blizzard as snow is now reported to be falling at 2 inches per hour. Nearly another 12 inches of snow still expected to fall.

Metro has suspended all bus service including DDOT’s Circulator line.

Since we've no place to go... let it snow... let it snow.. let it snow




Oh the weather outside is frightful... Snow in the Village







Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ujamaa - Cooperative Economics

I have an idea that I want to share with my faithful readers. I'm willing to take the risk that someone may steal my idea. At the end of the day, I know I have too much on my plate to lead the charge, so I'm hoping one of you will be inspired to stand up and say "I have your back, Miss V... I will make it happen." So... after a few paragraphs of jibber jabber, I'll share my idea.... First let's focus on me.

Ward 7 is getting THE first sit-down, white table cloth establishment East of the River in early 2010 (Whoot Whoot). However, we do not have a cafe where I can meet friends to chit chat or use wifi. There is the Bagel Place on Minnesota Ave NE, but it's not living up to it's potential. Allegedly, Big Chair Cafe in Ward 8 will open.... one day.

I am an AVID coffee drinker. Every single day that I leave my house at some point I drive on Penn Ave SE. There is NOWHERE to get coffee between Fairfax Village and Eastern Market on Penn Ave. There is a Starbucks at the Safeway on Alabama **yawn** and there is coffee at McDonald's **side-eye**. If I want to tap away on my laptop while sipping the coffee God put on this earth just for me, I have to leave the Ward.

So here's my idea (not that it is all that original), but what if WE, the community, pooled our money to start our OWN community cafe. There is enough people with relatively high incomes living in Ward 7 . Certainly the Hillcrest (including Fairfax Village), Penn Branch and Fort Davis neighborhoods have some of the highest incomes on this side of town. IF, we could get 100 households to give at least $500 that would be more than enough for starting capital.

Stay with me here.... Then, we hire people from the community to work in the cafe. Maybe even do a job training program with the local high school to give some of these chirren (that's children as my granddaddy would say it) something to do after school. Plus if they work XX amount of hours and maintain a certain GPA, they can be eligible for a college scholarship (funded by the cafe).

The best part is that ALL the profits from the cafe would be required to stay in the community for programs, initiatives and other projects the shareholders (aka the community) wants to fund.

Well... that was my idea. Let it marinate and rotisserate in your mind.... Should you be so inspired to lead the charge, holla at your girl. I'm down to help.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Baby Steps


I figured I'd start with my rant and end on a positive note. Apparently, there is a bad batch of PCP going around Fairfax Village. On Wednesday mid-day, a woman (not a resident in the Village) driving on Fort Davis Street started tripping. She stopped the car in the middle of the street, hopped out the car and started stripping. (note: stay off that stuff) Fortunately, we have a US Marshall living in the Village. He was able to detain her until MPD arrived.

Then on Thursday evening, I arrive home to an ambulance and three MPD vehicles. A "woman" living in Village 6 (across the street from my crib) started tripping off PCP. "She" bit a teenager in the face. "She" was detained and locked up by MPD. MPD figured that "she" would be locked up for several months. WRONG. I was walking my dogs last night and sure enough, "she" was walking right in front of me.

Just so there is no misinterpretation of my words, let me be very clear when I say: THE DC JUSTICE SYSTEM SUCKS!!!!

Moving on to the positive... I am happy to report that I got an email from Councilmember Mendelson's Office this past Friday as a follow up to our Security Walk the previous Friday. The Councilmember has made good on his promises. His office ensured DDOT added two new One Way signs at the intersection of W St and 38th St SE. While I was walking my dogs, I spied with my little eye two new signs. Now hopefully we can cut down on people driving the wrong way on that street.

The other thing that CM Mendelson's Office is assisting us with is getting the DC Housing Authority to investigate the problem units in the Village. We ALL know how my experience was with DCHA. **rolls eyes** Ofc LaFrance was contacted to get the addresses of the problem units. He is working with the Fairfax Village management office to ensure we have a comprehensive list of all the units. CM Mendelson's office also confirmed that MPD is going to look at the crime statistics at 38th and Alabama to determine if it's a candidate for a security camera.

These may be small steps, but it's progress nonetheless. Now if we can fix the Justice system...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cooler Heads Prevailed

I was able to go to the community meeting tonight to discuss Ray's the Steaks East River. I'm happy to report that it was a relatively mild meeting. The main concern was about trash on the streets, which lead to a 20-minute digression that had nothing to do with Ray's the Steaks. **rolls eyes**

Mr. Landrum expects to get his Certificate of Occupancy in the near future. His philosophy is his restaurants are social, family-friendly, and affordable. He plans to only sell beer and wine, which is consistent with his beliefs and the operations at his other locations. He stated that he is NOT a bar and the drinks are only secondary to the food.

The dinner menu will range from the mid-tens to mid-twenties dollars. There will be items on the menu under $10. He shared some secrets about the menu that I cannot divulge (bet you wish you showed up?). The main dining area will have seating for 68 plus an additional 10 at the counter/bar. There will be seating outside for brunch and daytime dining when the weather is nice.

Mr. Landrum gets HUGE thumbs up for providing jobs to Wards 7 and 8 residents. His construction crew are from Wards 7 and 8. His has 3 staff that are being trained and will be part of the lead team when this location opens. They are all from Ward 7. In addition, he's looking for other opportunities to hire from the neighborhood.

I think that Wards 7 and 8 are lucky to have a great person, like Mr. Landrum, investing in this community. I sincerely hope that this means that there will be no protests submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Side-Eye

I sounded the alarm to blast Commissioner Eddie Rhodes with emails in support of Ray's the Steaks East River. After some of us received phone calls from Commissioner Rhodes saying that I was putting out false information, I provided the facts. Today, I provide THE letter dated October 20, 2009 from the ANC 7A President in support of Ray's the Steaks East River.

Commissioner Rhodes is well within his right to speak on behalf of his residents. However, why was this not done at the October ANC 7A Meeting when this was discussed? Just saying...

Needless to say... Allegedly, this issue will be brought up at tonight's (12/10) meeting. If you can attend, the meeting is at 6:30 pm at 3839 Minnesota Avenue (East River Bagel) NE, Washington, DC. Believe me, I'm working hard to move things around in my schedule so I can attend. Whether I attend or not, I'll try to give a recap tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

False Alarm People

Let me be CRYSTAL CLEAR.... This isn't a gossip blog. I do not maintain this blog to be malicious or defamatory in any way. This blog is just a method to communicate my thoughts, feelings, and ideas to people in my neighborhood and who are interested in my neighborhood. In addition, I try to convey information from community leaders. I HAVE NO HIDDEN AGENDA.

One of the things that I struggle with in DC is the fact that everything is so political. People think they can smooth talk you, wink and smile and all is well with the world. While DC is my home now, I'm still a Jersey girl through and through. We are straight-talkers who don't take BS from anyone. Now why am I upset. Let me 'splain.

Yesterday I posted a request for you to email Commissioner Rhodes in support of the liquor license for Ray's the Steaks East River, which is in his SMD. Today's turn of events have me giving Commissioner Rhodes the "talk to the hand". He left me a voicemail around lunch saying that I was providing erroneous information. I sent him an email back basically stating that if I have provided any erroneous information, please send me the correct information. I would be more than happy to "eat crow" and correct the information.

He called me back and basically stated that no decision has been made to protest. **raises brow** He stated their were minor issues that needed to be addressed with Mr. Landrum. I asked him to give an example. He said one minor little issue is that neighbors of the adjoining properties want a fence. He said that he thought they were easy things to address. He ended with he was trying to get Mr. Landrum on the phone and had been unsuccessful.

I assume Commissioner Rhodes thought that little pat on the head speech was enough to make me go away. In an effort to not put out erroneous information... I'll stick to the facts.


FACT: According to ANC 7A07 Commissioner Johnson, Commissioner Rhodes has not been at an ANC 7A Meeting since April/May of this year.

FACT: According to ANC 7A07 Commissioner Johnson, ANC 7A voted to give Mr. Landrum a letter of support at the October Meeting. A meeting that Commissioner Rhodes did NOT attend.

FACT: In an email from Mr. Rhodes to a community member with the date and time stamp of 12/7/09 , 3:18 PM states "I hope you will be available to testify at the hearing. It looks like we will have to protest this."

FACT: This aforementioned community member asks Commissioner Rhodes what are his issues with the liquor license. Commissioner Rhodes responds at 4:51 PM "None, but a number of people have indicated to me that they have some problems with adding another liquor license in the community. So I will give anyone a chance to make their case for or ageist[sic]."

FACT: Commissioner Rhodes stated on the phone with me that he is "frustrated" that he has been unable to get in contact with Mr. Landrum. **raises brow** Funny thing is Mr. Landrum answered my call after three rings and indulged me in a 15-minute conversation.

I understand that some times things can be taken out of context. So I won't blow the "It looks like we will have to protest this" out of proportion. **side-eye** However, Commissioner Rhodes should have represented the interest of his SMD at the ANC 7A meeting in October when this was on the agenda. The decision has been made. ANC 7A has spoken, so as far as I'm concerned, Commissioner Rhodes can keep it moving.

For the record, I fully support Mr. Landrum and I have every intention of being at the Grand Opening!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

This is not a drill people....

You said you wanted a sit down restaurant East of the River where you can take your friends for drinks. Now it's time to your part.

Ray's the Steaks, the third in a chain of highly successful restaurants owned and operated by Michael Landrum, will open in Ward7 at East River Shopping Center in late Winter 2010. The restaurants its in Commissioner Rhodes' Single Member District. There is a rumor that he and a few neighbors plan to mount a protest to the application instead of negotiating with Landrum for a voluntary agreement (has not been verified).

They have concerns about alcohol sales until 12a. It is imperative that Commissioner Rhodes hears from residents in his SMD (find out by goingto http://www.dcboee.org/ "find your polling place" or call 727-2525) and from East of the River residents about the importance for us to negotiate as a first step instead of outright protest.

If you support the location of Ray's the Steaks in River East, email Eddie Rhodes, 7A06, by Thursday, December 10th with the following script. http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/publications/eotr/2009_February/34-35_EOR_0209.pdf

EMAIL HIM IF YOU SUPPORT RAYS THE STEAKS (USE THIS SCRIPT)
Eddie Rhodes 7A06
Hi, my name is ___. I live in Ward __ (or your address if you live in his SMD). I understand some 7A06SMD neighbors are planning to protest the alcohol license for Ray's the Steaks locating to your SMD in late winter 2010. Commissioner Rhodes, I respectfully request that you support the approval of an alcohol license for Ray's the Steaks and negotiate a voluntary agreement with restaurant owner Michael Landrum.

As a community leader, it is important that you work with neighbors and businesses to change negative perceptions about Wards 7 and 8. Ray's the Steaks is the third restaurant in a successful chain of restaurants owned and operated by Michael Landrum. Landrum's decision to locate a profitable, upscale restaurant in East of the River will go along way to finally attracting quality retail to our communities and helping us capture more tax dollars for the area.

I support the approval of Ray's the Steaks's alcohol license and stand ready to help you negotiate a voluntary agreement with Michael Landrum. I look forward to hearing from you with your decision.

Sincerely,
First Last Names
Address
Phone

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Walk a mile in my shoes

Last night we had the third Fairfax Village Security Walk. I'm sure there are some staffers in DC anxiously hitting refresh on my blog to see what I have to say. Before I give my keep-it-real recap, I need to make some things clear. First and foremost, with regards to the elections, I am not endorsing any candidate at this time. It takes more than a wink and a smile to woo me. The only strong opinion I have at this time is Fenty has to go. Second, this isn't a gossip column. My opinions reflect my thoughts and reactions to some of the things I read, see, and hear. Lastly, I rely on the big news sources (i.e. Washington Post and Washington Business Journal) to provide accurate information. Anything else that I state as fact is based on my reality.

Now... on to the security walk. I want to first thank everyone for coming out and seeing Life in the Village at night. Ofc LaFrance is the best foot beat officer ever. He has invested over 10 hours of his time helping us figure out what we need to do as a Community Association to protect ourselves. I asked when Councilmember-at-large Mendelson when he was coming to Ward 7 and he showed up with his little daughter and legislative assistant in tow. Hopefully, this won't be his last visit over yonder. Amin Muslim, Director of Constituent Services for Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander attended. This was a surprise given her people were a no show at the Fairfax Village Security Meeting she was supposed to be co-hosting. Councilmember-at-large candidate, Clark Ray, and his people were in attendance as well.

While the manicure grounds and freshly painted buildings give the impression that this is the urban version of Wisteria Lane, we do have a drug and prostitution problem, especially among the residents receiving section 8 vouchers.

Despite the cold temperature, our guests saw the dopeboys and their "girlfriends" heading into the problem building on 38th and Alabama. Too bad it wasn't warmer so they could get the full effect. They also got to hear first hand from Ofc LaFrance how MPD make arrests, but the courts have them back on street only hours later.

You thought I would have planned it, but they also got to witness a car accident at Fort Davis and Pennsylvania (I swear I had nothing to do with it). They also got to see a few pedestrians play roulette with their lives crossing Pennsylvania. Since I had the ear of Mr. Muslim, I also discussed the section of Pennsylvania that I HATE (between Branch and 33rd).

What I want to see happen next? I don't expect our visitors to be down in the weeds with the issues. My hope is that those in office and seeking to be in office will think about how to address these issues on the larger scale (i.e. policies, studies, rules, regulations, etc). As CM Mendelson contemplates the agenda and actions for the Public Safety and Judiciary Committee that he Chairs, I hope he will keep in mind what he heard and saw. Perhaps his committee will initiate an investigation into why the justice system is releasing repeat offenders back on the streets of DC.

Also, Mr. Muslim promised to assist us with addressing our problem units using other creative means. I emailed him the information I promised to send. I look forward to his follow-up. I told him I'd give him until the end of next week before I put him on blast. (Oh the pen is mightier than the sword... bwahahahaha)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmm

I went to my first Fairfax Village Community Association Meeting tonight. Shame on me for not attending sooner. I didn't realize the depth of the incompetence of some of the members. The meeting was filled with mostly low points. Every time the President opened her mouth, I had to mentally tivo the moment just to be sure I heard what I heard.

The meeting started about 10 minutes late and I want to point out the President never called roll. Officer LaFrance gave a police update. Apparently crime was down the past 30 days. Snaps for Officer LaFrance and all his hard work protecting the village. Then we started the discussion on the previous security walk. The meeting took an IMMEDIATE turn for the worse.

What happened? Well the CA members who attended the walk were expressing their frustration with our maintenance contractor for not repairing broken/burned out lights identified in a timely manner. The President gets on her high horse about how we need proof and documentation. ***raises brow*** One of the CA members stated that she records the date and time when she contacts the office for repairs. Another CA member stated she walked the grounds with the maintenance contractor. Yet, nothing had been done. The CA President goes on a tirade about how we have to document... blah blah blah (sorry that's all I heard after the first sentence).

We got a presentation by our insurance company. We've had three claims in the past three months all related to Bebe's kids cutting the power lines so they can get high in peace. Despite the claims, our premiums have gone down... whoot whoot. Then the representative mention as part of our insurance the company will come out and do a FREE assessment. The President states that she and the board will think about.... Not quite sure what needs to be analyzed.

The petition for security cameras at 38th and Alabama was discussed. After a circuitous discussion it was realized that we weren't getting anywhere with DC government (that's a shocker... NOT).

Then we moved onto contracts. One CA member expressed concern about one of our contractors, to which the President (i.e. the one who signs contracts) asks if she still use that contractor. ***side-eye*** I feel like she should know that. Just saying...

The meeting ajourned... It was painful, but I'm glad I attended.