Thursday, April 29, 2010
I did request that if (and hopefully when) the parking remains in tact, that the parking sign by the Fairfax Village lot be moved at least 5 feet from the curb. It's hard getting out of the lot. Even when you are making a right turn, you can't seen until you are halfway in the street. In my last email to DDOT I did state that if any parking is eliminated, I fully expect DDOT will assist us in finding a solution. Miss V will keep you posted.
Speaking of parking, DPW must really be strapped for cash. Parking enforcement always comes through the Village at 7:00 AM on the weekdays. I could set my alarm to her. Back in March, they started creeping down my street on Saturday mornings. Now, parking enforcement is making several loops during the day. Yesterday, she came through at 3:30, 6:15 and 8:15pm. At least that's when I saw her outside. Today she was creeping through around 2pm. Did I mention that we don't have a parking problem during the day??? Talk about waste of gas. If DPW wants to get paid, then they need to come through after 10 PM any night of the week and the public alley portion of the Fairfax Village lots. Just saying...
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
HOWEVER, last time I checked a 73% is a C. I don't know about you, but I wasn't allowed to bring home a C to my parents. Let's do better Fairfax Village!!!!
Monday, April 26, 2010
I appreciate the newsletter and the Councilmember's concern, but at what point will the community be involved??? I sent an email back to both of them requesting a meeting between DDOT and at the very least the leadership of Fairfax Village. Although this is a two year project, I think the dialog between DDOT and the community needs to begin now. I haven't heard back yet. I will be following up at the end of the week.
There is no need to be scared of meeting with us. We are educated people who can absorb the information and provide an opinion. In talking with one of my neighbors he actually wouldn't mind eliminating parking on Penn Ave if there was another solution to the parking issue. This is information DDOT could receive if they met with the Fairfax Village community.
For the record, Miss V is not trying to derail the project. I am just pushing for engagement with my community.
Friday, April 23, 2010
However, this week Miss V and the other residents in Fairfax Village received a letter from a resident stating that during and after the Great Streets Project, on-street parking on the 3900 block of Pennsylvania Ave would be eliminated. *** Makeitsay "WHAT?"*** Now we were prepared to deal with elimination of on-street parking during construction, but after is new information to all of us.
The on-street parking situation in this area is horrible right now. The street is bumper-to-bumper parked cars by 9:00 PM. I just want to point out that there is no mention of existing parking conditions in the Existing Conditions section of the Final Report. My guess is that someone probably drove up the street during the day when parking isn't an issue.
In all the meetings I've attended, I've never heard about this. I went to the DDOT website designated for this project only to be greeted by "Page cannot be found". I looked at the Final Report approved in 2007 and nowhere did I see mention of elimination of on-street parking.
Miss V sent the following email to the Public Outreach Coordinator for the project and Councilmember Alexander:
This week, Fairfax Village received a notice from one of our residents regarding the elimination of parking on Penn Ave at the completion of the project. We were anticipating parking pains during the construction process, but we were not informed that these pains would be permanent. I went to the outreach website specific to this project to learned that is has been deactivated. I reviewed the Final Report approved in 2007 and could not find any reference to the elimination of parking. Please confirm if the elimination of parking on Penn Ave is accurate information.
Regardless if the elimination of parking is accurate or not, I would like to suggest targeted outreach to Fairfax Village and residents who live on the north-side of Penn Ave to provide information on the project and answer questions within the next 60 days. In talking to my neighbors there is understandable concern given the existing lack of on-street parking.
I'm anxiously awaiting a response. I will definitely keep you posted.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
We just need to keep fighting. We may have lost this battle, but we haven't lost the war. As Lenny Kravitz said "Darling, it ain't over til it's over."
According to news sources, Councilmembers Cheh (Ward 3), Harry Thomas Jr (Ward 5), Michael Brown (at-large), and Kwame Brown (at-large) have all issued statements against the gun amendment. The only actual statement I was able to find online was on K. Brown's website: “I’m against passing voting rights if it means abrogating our ability to protect the citizens of the District of Columbia through constitutional gun laws,” said Councilmember Brown. “But we must stand together in the effort to achieve full statehood. Now is the time for voting rights but if it means we have erode our local governing authority, we must wait for a better opportunity to strike.”
Councilmember Alexander has also issued several statements, so I'm not entirely sure where she stands on the issue. On Thursday I received an email from the Councilmember's office stating that she pledged her support to Congresswoman Norton. Today Washington Post reports, "If the [gun] amendment is not removed, Alexander is non-committal as to whether to Congress should approve the voting rights bill."
The remaining Councilmembers have not issued statements to my knowledge. Interestingly enough the discussion among residents also seems to be divided. Some are willing to compromise and accept the gun amendment in order to get voting rights. Others are saying no compromise. You know where Miss V stands. So where does this leave us? A City divided?
Monday, April 19, 2010
No one asked my opinion, so I will take my blog as an opportunity to offer it. I am completely and utterly against the gun law amendment that is attached to it. Violence is already bad enough with the gun laws that we have in place. In some situations, the gun laws allow MPD to get known drugdealers off the streets when they can't get enough evidence to charge them with distribution. It is absurd that we are allowing non-DC residents the power to push this amendment on us.
Furthermore, I'm extremely disappointed in Congresswoman Norton, Mayor Fenty, and President Obama for voicing their support in the Bill as it stands. I know it has been a long fight, but some times you have to say "No Compromise" and keep fighting. I'm for compromise, but getting representation at the expense of safety doesn't seem like a fair trade-off.
Washington Post quoted Congresswoman Norton from a statement she made last year: "There is no choice between a vote for American citizens and a completely unrelated and reckless gun bill . . . . That is an absurd exchange that no one would accept." Today a statement on her website reads: "I have given this fight all that I had. There is nothing left to do but make the hard decision. I believe residents would not want us to pass up this once-in-a-life-time opportunity for the vote they have sought for more than two centuries."
I encourage you to email your views to the Congresswoman. If you don't know what to say, you can thank my neighbor for example language.
Dear Honorable Congresswoman Norton,
My name is [Name], and I am a resident of Ward [x]. I have lived in for the last [x] years. I am very aware of the "taxation without representation" reality of the District, which is why I am pleased to learn of the DC Voting Rights bill that is currently being endorsed by President Obama. This bill will give DC residents the voice that they are entitled to, and will help the city move forward on local issues. As a taxpayer, I am very excited to see the that the tide is finally changing in the right direction; but as a DC resident, I am very concerned about how the passing of this bill will lead to the decimation of DC's gun laws, per the efforts of .
First of all, DC is a federal city, and I don't understand how Congress would want to endorse the repealing of gun laws that help to keep our communities safe. Secondly, many communities east of the Anacostia River, are in the midst of upswing, but the reality is that crime continues to be a major problem. It was not that long ago that nine people were shot on South Capitol Street in Ward 8. The socioeconomic problems in Wards 7 and 8 are being addressed and conditions continue to improve, but we need gun laws to help keep our streets safe...especially for our children. And I am not just speaking on behalf of Ward [x], but rather as a resident of DC. We need safe streets...and that includes all streets in SE, SW, NE and NW.
If our guns laws are eliminated, all of our communities are at risk! I would encourage to reevaluate his efforts on this bill. I don't believe that DC taxpayers should finally get the voice that they deserve at a cost. Safe streets equals safe communities, which also means future growth with the hopes of increased prosperity. Let's not take one step forward and two steps back!
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response.
Concerned and Proud Resident of DC
My friend just sent me this article from the Washington Post. I looks like Ben's is mulling over the idea of opening a Ben's Next Door at Penn Branch Shopping Center. Below is the article from Washington Post
Ben's Chili Bowl looking for franchise opportunities
By Jonathan O'Connell
Monday, April 19, 2010; 3
For 51 years, Ben's Chili Bowl has been a family-owned greasy spoon, a U Street fixture that bustled with hungry customers from breakfast to late at night.
Now it is on the verge of becoming a franchise.
Kamal and Nizam Ali, two of chili bowl founder Ben Ali's three sons, are considering extending the Ben's name into a chain that would bring the restaurant's famous chili and half-smokes to new locations locally and maybe around the world.
Even before their father died last October, the family had begun expanding the business, enlarging the original restaurant to accommodate peak crowds and tour buses, then signing a licensing deal to provide chili and half-smokes at Nationals Park. In 2008 the family opened an adjacent restaurant and bar, Ben's Next Door, and this February welcomed a visitors center, complete with a visual history of U Street and a Ben's gift shop.
Kamal Ali said that thanks to visits by Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, he has received franchise inquiries from as far away as Australia and Brazil. "Everything's got to a point where I'm ready to consider the next thing on my plate," he said.
Ali, a father of 9-year-old twins, said the family doesn't have the time or staff to manage new restaurants itself, so he has begun talking with franchisers and consultants about the best way to expand. The family already contracts with a Pennsylvania facility to produce Ben's famous chili; about 60,000 pounds are made there annually for sales at Nationals Park and through the company's mail order business, which makes about 100 shipments a month. The agreement "kind of gave us a model for what we can do in the franchise world," Ali said.
Developers have salivated over bringing Ben's to their buildings for years. Developer Chris Donatelli said interest would run high. "It's unique in that it's destination-oriented fast food. You have people that will travel across the city for their fast food," he said. Tim Chapman, another developer, tried to woo the Ali brothers recently. "The thing about Ben's Chili Bowl is you know what you're getting when you walk in there," he said.
The brothers have begun taking an early look at locations. On April 14, they scouted Penn Branch Shopping Center in Southeast D.C., where developers from ICG Properties plan a restaurant space that could accommodate a Ben's Next Door. "We'll consider it," Ali said.
Any expansion will require more than replicating the food, said Michael Seid, a West Hartford, Conn., franchise adviser who has spoken with the Ali brothers.
"The risk to Ben's is that when it is replicated into a franchise, the franchise has to embody the culture of Ben's as much as it does the product and the delivery of Ben's."
Thursday, April 15, 2010
- Mr. Skinner stated he has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. How does a mechanical engineer operate a civil engineering business? *raises brow* To the laymen, engineering is all the same. But engineers know that the knowledge gained from mechanical is not entirely (if at all) transferable to civil.
- Mr. Skinner stated that he is a certified Engineer-in-Training. Newsflash to my laymen, EIT doesn't mean diddly squat. All it means is you passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.
- Speaking of the FE exam.... I was puzzled that Mr. Skinner couldn't remember when he sat for the exam. I don't know an engineer alive who passed that 8-hour exam and couldn't tell you the month and year they took it. (Miss V took it in April 2001)
- It is unethical to represent a company as an engineering company when there is no professional engineer (PE) on the payroll. According to Mr. Skinner's testimony, when he initially started his engineering company, his business partner was NOT a registered professional engineer. Miss V and her business partner each have two engineering degrees, but neither one of us are licensed as a PE. Nowhere will you find anything that says we perform engineering services. It would be unethical for us to do that.
- Mr. Skinner said that LEAD is an engineering company that provides services in civil engineering. However, they subcontracted the engineering work to other firms. **side-eye** Okay, then what does his company do? Push paper?
Memorable Council Quotables
- "Just so you know, Mr. Bowden [Skinner's Attorney], as the Committee Chairman I will have the last word." - Councilmember Thomas (Ward 5)
- "So even though I'm not an engineer, I can start Yvette Alexander Engineering?" - Councilmember Alexander (Ward7)
- "The purpose of the CBE program is not to profit at levels that shock the conscience." - Councilmember-at-large Catania
- "Who is watching DC taxpayer money? Who is watching the ship?" - Councilmember-at-large K. Brown.
- "No you don't believe so, you know so" - Councilmember Barry (Ward 8).
- "You talk about your relationship with the mayor. You talk to him all the time. You never talk business with your friend, ever?" - Councilmember-at-large M. Brown
The photos below are the meals of my lunch dates.
I learned yesterday that the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary will be holding a hearing on the "Crime Bill". I emailed Councilmember-at-large Mendelson requesting the Committee consider community outreach and/or meetings East of the River in light of recent events. This evening, I was informed by one of the staff members that the Committee would be holding a public oversight roundtable on "Community Views on the March 30, 2010 South Capitol Street Shootings" on April 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM to discuss the shootings that took place on South Capitol Street. **drops jaw** Make it say what?
Here's a thought, how about have a public roundtable on the shootings IN THE AFFECTED COMMUNITY at a time when the community can attend.
The Crime Bill is co-sponsored by Jack Evans (Ward - 2), who by the way wants to run for Chairman, and Jim Graham (Ward -1). On Councilmember Evans website is the following quote: “I have heard from numerous residents and civic associations on this issue - people are anxious to see any and all additional measures put in place to help keep our neighborhoods and residents safer.” I feel like I'm a relatively connected person (listservs, blogs, facebook, and such), so IF you had any outreach East of the River, I surely didn't hear about it. Running for Council Chair, are you? **raises brow**
THEN to end my night, a little birdy told me that there is a possibility the provision that requires the Mayor to hold a public hearing in the affected community before disposing of public property may be removed from DC regulations. **side-eye** Translation: The Mayor would be able to sell DC property in your neighborhood without your input.
I know it's not fair to lump everyone together, because there are actually 1 or 2 Councilmembers that show promise of being for the people (K. Brown and H. Thomas). Right now I feel like none of the elected officials are fighting for the people. Where is our representation???
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
I posted yesterday that the application process is open for students in 3rd through 8th grade for the National Society of Black Engineers' (NSBE) Summer Engineering Experience for Kids. NSBE is also looking for High School students to be mentors in the program.
The High School students would need to commit to a one-week mentor training program in addition to the three-week SEEK camp. Students that complete the four-week mentor program will receive a $1,000 stipend.
- Must submit one letter of recommendation for the position, a resume, and high school transcript to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Must be a high school senior and have transportation to and from the school
- Must be a NSBE member at the time of training (online membership @ www.nsbe.org)
- Must be available for a phone interview or in person
Dates: July 5-20, 2010
Times: 8:00 AM - 3:30 pm
Location: Friendship Public Charter School, 2959 Carlton Ave NE
For more information on this opportunity, please contact Franklin Moore at (703) 549-2207 x 204.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This summer, NSBE will be having their annual Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) July 12-30, 2010. SEEK is a three-week program targeting students in 3rd through 8th grades. This program will introduce students to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
The program goals are to:
- expose youth to STEM fields at an early age
- provide daily hands-on activities to engage students in engineering design
- fulfill the mission of NSBE: to increase the number of culturally responsible, black engineers who excel academically, succeed professional, and positively impact the community.
Registration is now available, through April 30th or until all classes are filled. To register, visit www.nsbe.org or email email@example.com for more information. Tell them Lifetime Member #39 sent you.
Monday, April 12, 2010
From the summary it seems like East of the River has the potential to benefit by some of the provisions in the bill. However, I'm a little disappointed that there hasn't been more outreach regarding this bill in Wards 7 and 8, where we have crime hot spots. I asked a few ANC and civic leaders East of the River if they heard of the Bill and they all said no. **raises brow**.
This morning, I sent the following email to Councilmember-at-large Mendelson, Chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary:
I was looking for another public hearing and I happened upon the hearing for Bill 18-595 scheduled for April 19, 2010. In light of the recent shooting events East of the River, in addition to the other challenges that our communities face, I would like to request that the committee host additional public hearings and/or community outreach at convenient times (evenings or weekends) and locations accessible to the community. This is an extremely important Bill that has the potential to impact many neighborhoods East of the River. I think the community should be afforded an opportunity to 1) understand the Bill and it's implications and 2) voice their concerns and opinions. I am aware that public testimony can be submitted May 3, but this an important issue and Bill, which deserve additional dialog and community outreach. I am willing to assist with any public hearings and/or community outreach East of the River.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I'm waiting for his response. I emphasized to his staff that the community outreach could be tagged onto an existing meeting such as MPD District meetings, civic association, or even organization meetings.
At any rate, East of the River needs to be heard. To testify, contact Ms. Heidi Tseu, Committee Clerk or Ms. Deborah Kelly, Legislative Clerk for Councilmember Mendelson at 202-724-7808, by fax at 202-724-6664, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation and title (if any) by close of business Thursday, April 15. Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony. If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. The record will close on at 5pm May 3, 2010.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
If you have any information please contact MPD:
- Call 3-1-1
- Text 50411 from your cell phone
- Call the anonymous tip line (888) 919-CRIME
- Join the MPD-6D listserv: groups.yahoo.com/groups/MPD-6D
- Attend a PSA 606 meeting, 3rd Wed of every month, 6:00 PM at the Lutheran Church on Alabama and Branch
- Sign up for Alert DC
Thursday, April 8, 2010
This day brought out the Mayor and Councilmembers Gray, Alexander, and K. Brown. Putting my feelings for Fenty aside, I thought he gave a great speech. He spoke from his heart and meant it. Gray added a little comedy. Alexander, looking flawless as always, seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. K. Brown was... well K. Brown. He is one of the most down-to-earth politicians I know.
Michael Landrum, a man who started as a poor busboy to rise to successful restaurateur, gave the final speech. He is currently employing 18 people from Wards 7 and 8. Eventually through his job training program, he will employ 40 people from Wards 7 and 8. He talked about people from West of the River and West of the Park crossing the bridge to come East of the River. The words "East of the River" never sounded so good.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
April 5, 2010
Benning Library (3935 Benning Road NE) will be opening.
The new two-story library will be 22,000 square feet and feature:
- 80,000 books, DVDs, CDs
- Separate reading areas for adults, teens and children
- 32 public access computers, free Wi-Fi
- Large program room for up to 100 people, and two 12-person conference rooms
April 7, 2010
Ray's the Steaks (3905) Dix St NE
UPDATE: The ribbon cutting will be at 3:30 pm.
April 15, 2010
Francis A. Gregory Library will be closing at 5:30 PM. The interim library will open on Monday, May 10th at 2100 36th Pl SE. The interim library will remain open during the construction of the NEW Francis Gregory Library. The new library will be open in Spring 2011.