Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
On a side note, two snaps for DDOT. They plowed and salted both Fort Davis and V streets around 1pm!!!
Friday, January 29, 2010
FLY Bake Sale
12:00 - 3:00 PM
2021 MLK Ave SE
For more information: Click here
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Hillcrest Community Civic Association Meeting
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hillcrest Recreation Center
3200 Denver St SE
Sunday, February 7, 2010
East of the River: Continuity and Change
Presented by the Historical Society of DC and the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum
1:30pm to 3:30pm
801 K Street NW
RSVP at 202.383.1828 or By email: rsvp@historydc. org
Monday, February 8, 2010
Public Hearing on "Bill 18-549, Community Impact Statement Amendment Act of 2009"
DC Council Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary
John A. Wilson Building, Room 412
To testify contact: Ms. Lisa Abrams, Legislative Counsel or Ms. Deborah Kelly, Legislative Clerk, at (202) 724-7808, by fax at (202) 724-6664, or via e-mail at Dkelly@dccouncil.us
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Every few years there is an article on the Hillcrest neighborhood. Mainly because we have beautiful homes that mimic anything seen in Cleveland Park. Not to mention all three Councilmembers that live in Ward 7 live here. Two things are always consistent about the articles... 1) come see this place in the east with the beautiful homes and 2) Hillcrest is the neighborhood to live in (in so many words).
Yesterday the Washington Examiner had an article entitled "Hillcrest on the Rise". First and foremost Hillcrest never fell to have to "rise" again. BUT more importantly no mention of Fairfax Village. The author describes Hillcrest as "Located roughly between Pennsylvania Avenue, Southern Avenue and Naylor Road, the neighborhood is a collection of single-family homes with large lawns, soaring trees and friendly people."
Now if you know your geography then you know that Fairfax Village is the part of Hillcrest that touches Pennsylvania Ave and Southern Ave. Yet, he specifically states it is a collections of single family homes. ***Sigh*** What about Fairfax Village??? We are garden-style 1940 condominiums.
I'm writing a letter to the author.... ***pouts***
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Very interesting hearing the morning. There were about 14 witnesses that spoke on behalf of organizations or as individuals. The general consensus was there is a need for transparency and inclusion in the process, there needs to be a clear definition of the role of the Facilities Planning Advisory Committee, and the needs of the community need to be in balance with each other and future development. All good stuff.
The highlight of the hearing was three speakers who just threw down the gauntlet and went no holds barred. The first one was a public witness who started off describing how he's lived all over the world. I wasn't sure where he was going... and then... he.... went there... He basically said the District is the worst managed government he's ever seen. It's full of corruption and cronyism. The District government gives a false sense of participation and then deals are made behind close doors. The part that had me almost falling off my chair is when he ended with "Do you manage your life like this? Do you manage your money like this? Just give it away? Then why do you do this with public money."
Another was this woman who had just came from playing Sharks and Minnows with fifth graders. She drew the analogy that the Sharks are the developers and the public are the minnows. The poor little minnows are left to fend for themselves, while the sharks do what they want.
The one that had me gasping for air and Councilmember Cheh ready to blow a gasket, was Parisa Norouzi from Empower DC. She asked CM Cheh very pointed questions. The long and short is she asked who was in bed with the Council (metaphorically speaking). She made a great observation that no developers were in the room then asked CM Cheh was she having private meetings with them. Then she brought up the revolving door of District employees going to developers and developers becoming District employees and the conflict of interest related to deals involving those people. CM Cheh responded with she's not going to rise to the bait.
The hearing ended with the Director of Real Estate Services giving her testimony. I was unimpressed. Now I just need to gear up and get ready for the next round.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Needless to say yours truly, who has over seven years of planning experience, will be providing testimony as a public witness tomorrow. I wanted to share my written testimony. I'm limited to 3 minutes, so my actual oral testimony will be truncated.
My name is Miss V. I am a Partner/Principal Planner at Nspiregreen, LLC and a proud resident of Ward 7. I would like to thank Councilmember Chen and the honorable Committee members of the Committee on Government Operations and Environment for the opportunity to speak this morning on Bill 18-0592, the District Facilities Plan Amendment Act of 2009.
I commend the Committee for having the foresight and leadership to consider this bill. The Committee has shown clear understanding of the importance of asset management of public facilities. I fully support the creation of a District Facilities Plan. My testimony will focus on six key recommendations that I am presenting for consideration.
Recommendation 1 – Inclusion of the definition and purpose of the District Facilities Plan
The bill should clearly define what the plan is and how it should be utilized. The plan should be a comprehensive assessment of all District owned-facilities and properties, which includes a strategic plan for future use. The purpose of the plan should be to assist the District with strategically investing in the maintenance, use, expansion and upgrading of public facilities.
Recommendation 2 – The development of the initial plan should be an interagency planning effort
As the bill is currently written, Section 3b part (a) departments and agencies notify the Department of Real Estate Services of their facility needs including types and general locations. Then in Section 3b part (e), the Department of Real Estate Services is to conduct a study of the proposed facilities, which includes location and feasibility of costs. As this is a planning document, I recommend that the Department of Real Estate Services and Office of Planning jointly lead in the development of the initial plan. In addition, I recommend that an interagency working group be formed to ensure that as we look to the future we consider ways to collocate uses across multiple agencies.
Recommendation 3 – The District Facilities Plan should be a comprehensive and strategic long-term plan
While Section 3b part (c) infers the plan should be identify short and long-term needs, the bill should clearly define short and long-term. I recommend that long-term be defined as 20-years, which is consistent with the timeframe for the District’s Comprehensive Plan. I recommend short-term be defined as 5-years, which is consistent with the District’s Capital Improvement Plan.
Recommendation 4 – The District Facilities Plan should guide and inform the District’s Annual Operating Budget and Capital Plan
The District’s Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) is designed to help the City strategically plan for short-term capital improvements such as City utilities, transportation infrastructure, facilities, and open space. The CIP includes projected funding for the next five years across all agencies. Rather than create a separate process, the District Facilities Plan should lay the groundwork for any facility project proposed for the CIP. I recommend the Bill include language that outlines the connection between the District Facilities Plan and the District’s CIP.
Recommendation 5 – The District Facilities Plan should include opportunities for other uses of District-owned facilities
Section 3b part (c) outlines the components of the District Facilities Plan. I encourage the Committee to consider including in the plan opportunities for other uses of District-owned facilities that provide a re-occurring financial benefit to the City. For example, the City could transform an unused school building into a small business incubator and charge for office space. Another example is leasing space to non-profits and other community groups to enable them to carry out their missions. This provides an income stream to the City, while providing an opportunity for organizations to thrive.
Recommendation 6 – The process used to create the District Facilities Plan should be transparent and inclusive
As the bill is currently written, there is a provision for at least one public hearing during the bi-annual revision. I recommend that bill include provisions for a transparent process and public outreach during the development of the initial District Facilities Plan. Comparable to the process used for the development of the District’s Comprehensive Master Plan, there would be at least three strategically- located community meetings, in addition to a public hearing after the release of the Draft District Facilities Plan.
The bill mentions a District Facilities Planning Advisory Committee. I recommend the bill provide a definition of the committee’s purpose and composition.
In closing, this bill is a step in the right direction. In this economic climate, now is the time to think about the long-term sustainability of government functions. Before any more District property is sold to private development, we need to ensure that we can meet the needs of the future residents of the District. Thank you for your time.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Without bogging you down in the detailed (and at some moments comical) discussion, below are the basic arguments
Arguments for the Race is Good:
- Brings visibility to Ward 7
- Provides Ward 7 residents with an opportunity to see the marathon
- Opportunity for Ward 7 business to make money (raises brow on this one)
- Fosters Community
Arguments for the Race is Bad:
- Cuts off access for Ward 7 residents
- Some Metro Bus services are suspended, which makes it difficult for public transportation dependent residents to get around
- Residents can't park on the street in an area where parking is already limited
I personally don't think the arguments on either side are pretty strong. One solution that was proposed was to alternate the location of the starting point. Because we are at the end of the race, we have the longest road closure (up to 4 hours). Where the roads towards the start of the race are only closed for an hour or two.
Although it is a pain in the butt for one day, I'm just honored that we are even on the route.
The President of the Community Association resigned today. Most people keep it simple. Not our little melodramatic President (ahem... former President). No need to get in the nitty gritty of the letter, but let's just say there was name calling, mentions of conspiracies, a review of her accomplishments as President, and ends with a warning not to listen to unqualified people. ***shaking my head***
The Community Association is in shambles (okay maybe now I'm be dramatic...). In all seriousness, we need to rebuild the organization. I can't reveal my hand, but there will be more surprises in the coming months. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Last night I had dinner at Matchbox in Barracks Row. In the half-mile stretch on Pennsylvania Ave SE between 8th St SE and the Sousa Bridge I was met with two separate incidents involving MPD. The first one police were just swarming to the scene as I made my turn on Pennsylvania Ave from 8th St. Six MPD cars pulled over one beat-up little vehicle that had one occupant. They had the driver of the vehicle standing behind it handcuffed. I don't know what he did, but to warrant SIX MPD cars at 10 o'clock at night, he must have done something serious. No worries for him though. I'm sure the D.C. Justice System had him back on the street before I could even publish this post (shaking my head)... But I digress.
The second incident was about three block east from the first incident. This one had five MPD and caution tape around a corner store. According the police alert I got on my Blackberry, there was a robbery hold-up on 15th St SE. Seven black men attempted to either rob or carjack an Asian couple around 9 PM. It was about 10 PM when I drove through the area, so I assume MPD was conducting their investigation.
Needless to say with all this police activity, I was soooo happy to get my hindparts back on the east side of the river to PSA 606 where it's safe. According to MPD, PSA 606 is one of the safest PSA (if not THE safest) in the District.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
I met the Ward 8 River East bloggers (Congress Heights On the Rise, Barry Farm (re)mixed, and And Now Anacostia) for coffee, breakfast, and discussion about an idea we are working on (shhh it's a secret).
Big Chair is small, but quaint. The manager is super friendly. He addressed me by my first name the entire time I was there. This place has the makings of being the SE version of CHEERS. I think I overdosed on mochas (photo above)!!! For breakfast I had the steak omelet with hashbrown and toast. Hashbrowns were undercooked, but The Advoc8te and Urban Architect are determined to work with the owners on making perfect hashbrowns.
Given I'm now self-employed, I can definitely see myself working in Big Chair once or twice a week. Here's my review on yelp.com http://www.yelp.com/biz/big-chair-coffee-washington
Open 7 days a week, 7am - 7pm
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I want to thank my parents for instilling the importance of charity and goodwill. I'm thankful I don't know what it's like to be hungry or homeless. I find that the more I extend a hand to others the more God blesses me to give more to others. Despite my pitbull in a shirt aggressiveness, Miss V is extremely sensitive to the plight of those that are unable to help themselves.... now those than can help themselves and don't I give the side-eye. But I digress...
By now I'm sure you are experiencing Haiti overload. One of my friends (shown in the photo above) is the founder of the Famine Relief Foundation. They run an orphanage in Haiti. He collects money and other donation, then he personally goes to Haiti once a month to ensure that it is delivered to the orphanage. Unfortunately the orphanage is located 4 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.
They need financial donations to cover medical care, bandages, food and other supplies. If you have anything to give (even if it's only 50 cents), please donate to my friend's charity and the orphans of Haiti.
Here is the link to their website: http://faminerelieffoundation.com/
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
For example, I HATE opening mail. Mail can easily pile up a month or two before I go through it. I would LOVE to hire a personal assistant to come in once a week to open, sort, file and shred my mail. Before you even go there, YES, I could call to get my name off the lists, but that takes time. My personal assistant could make those calls for me. Another example, I keep my house very clean, especially since I have two dogs. I would LOVE to hire someone to come in once a month and thoroughly clean every nook and cranny of my house.
While these services exist, NONE of them are Wards 7 or 8 based businesses. With all this unemployment going on, where are the people that are determined to make a way even if there is no way? Where are the people that are tired of making someone else rich and ready to make life happen for themselves? Think about it... a cleaning service is a nice little hustle for anyone.
My grandparents where not academically educated people. My grandmother was nurse at night, but she turned the basement into a beauty salon and did hair during the day. My grandfather was a bellhop in hotel. He saved his pennies and eventually started his own taxi service. My grandparents put FIVE kids through college, owned their home, and made it work.
So how is it that two non-academically educated people in the South during Jim Crow where able to make it work, but the people living in DC with PLENTY of government services can complain that they can't find work? If you can't find work, start your own company. It's 2010 people... Let's do better and expect more of ourselves.
Monday, January 11, 2010
We had a training for the HOA boards that fall under the Fairfax Village Community Association yesterday morning. I knew that Councilmember Mendelson and his staff were going to be in attendance to talk about some of the things they have helped us with as a result of our Security Walk. I felt there was a 50/50 chance that Amin Muslim from Ward 7 Councilmember Alexander's office would show up and he did. BUT be still my beating little heart when Councilmember Alexander herself walked in. I almost fell out my chair.
We talked through some of the bigger issues. It was encouraging to hear Councilmember Mendelson talking about the potential of the Council initiating a study to look the Justice system as it relates to repeat offenders and people being released hours after they are arrested. I appreciate BOTH of the Councilmembers and their staff for attending the meeting.
After the Councilmembers left, we discussed some issues that we are having at the Community Association level. DRAMA and DYSFUNCTION... too much to even begin to dissect. For the Community Association to function properly, the seven HOA boards need to function properly. Right now Fairfax Village IV (MY BOARD) is the only one that has a full board. *shaking my head* I don't want to show my entire hand, but Village IV is about to make some noise throughout all the villages. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Work Scheduled Over Next Two Weekends
(Washington, DC) – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is scheduled to temporarily close lanes on the eastbound side of the Southeast Freeway over the next two weekends for the demolition of two RFK access ramps. The ramps cross over the freeway. On the weekend of January 10 and 11, and again on January 17 and 18, the left lane and shoulder will be closed just prior to the I-295 South and Pennsylvania Avenue split. That means all traffic approaching the split will have to take the I-295 exit.
There will be no access to RFK Stadium or Pennsylvania Avenue from the SE Freeway
Motorists may use the following detour route to reach Pennsylvania Avenue:
Take the Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue exit
Turn left on Good Hope Road, SE
Turn left on Minnesota Avenue, SE Detour Ends -
Turn either right or left on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
In addition, motorists can avoid the detour by taking alternate routes including:·
From the SW Freeway, take the South Capitol Street exit
Cross the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglas) Bridge
Take the Suitland Parkway Exit
Take the ramp for I-295 North
Do not fret, my friends. I will be the same Miss V you know and love (or hate depending of if you been previously put on blast by me...LOL). As a matter of fact, I'm about to turn up the heat in 2010. I will be holding more people accountable. This includes, but not limited to, the leadership and residents in Fairfax Village, the City Council, and our beloved mayor. We all have to do our part to make this City a better place. I am MORE than willing to hold up my end of the bargain.
Speaking of which... Another big shot out to Councilmember-at-large Mendelson's staff, Ofc LaFrance, and DC Housing for stepping up to the plate to fix the issue of residents receiving public housing vouchers while violating the law and the rules of the program and the by-laws of the Village.
***Side note: notice a certain Ward Councilmember (cough) and their staff are noticeably absent from my shout outs (raises brow)***
I'm happy to report that two detectives from DC Housing were on-site today to inspect one of the units causing troubles for Village IV. In addition, I provided DC Housing with a map of the village. They are going to cross-reference the addresses with their database to check up on the residents to ensure they are complying with the rules.
I spy with my little eye a change coming to Fairfax Village. There are enough residents willing to stand up to protect and enhance the community. We WILL rid ourselves of drugs, prostitution, and tomfoolery.