Friday, July 30, 2010

Goodbye, good riddance, and hello

By now the news is out that the Village Pantry Deli has been evicted from the Fairfax Village Shopping Center. The Village Pantry only sold liquor and snacks. It ended up being a place where people congregate. Not to mention the place was always fithy, so good riddance. See ya. Don't let the door hit ya, where the God Lord split ya. **hehe**

Miss V always has an ear to the street. Word from a very credible source is we'll be getting a locally-owned convenience store. My source has close ties to the owner and according to my source, the owner is committed to bringing groceries that the community wants to purchase. I put in a request for fresh produce (fruits and veggies) and staple groceries (milk, eggs, cheese, bread, etc) based on the data I collected from my informal survey of neighbors. I also requested that the owner keep the place clean. In addition, my source does not think the owner will be selling liquor.

My source allowed me to get a sneak peek at the demolition this afternoon. The construction crews are going to demo everything you can see in the photos. Everything is going to be new, even the HVAC system. Miss V is happier than a pig in slop!!! I'll keep you posted on the name.


Interesting use of social media



In an interesting and I suppose ironic turn of events, the older mayoral candidate Chairman Gray seems to be using social media more effectively than the younger Mayor Fenty. Chairman Gray is creating videos to respond to tweets and facebook questions and comments and posting them on this website. Chairman Gray created 16 videos responses thus far.

You know Miss V had to add her two cents. Here's my tweet to @grayformayor
Dizzyluv25 @grayformayor Great Idea. Ques: What proj, initiative, legislation has Chairman Gray done specifically for Ward 7 in 4 yrs on council?

Miss V wants to know the specifics of where Chairman Gray saw a need in Ward 7 and took specific actions to address that need.

Questions for Vince Gray?

(Photo from Washington City Paper)

Chairman Vince Gray will be holding a meeting with local bloggers tomorrow. Miss V plans to attend. The topics are going to be jobs and economic development. Oh Miss V has some economic development questions. Do you have any burning questions for the Mayoral hopeful? If so, email them to me at vod2@cornell.edu and I will do my best to ask them.

July 30th Come to Anacostia

Anacostia: Never Far From Home
Opening Reception
July 30th @ 6:30pm

The Gallery at Vivid Solutions (2208 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE) hosts Anacostia: Never Far From Home, a look at the past and present of Anacostia, with the help from local bloggers Fred Joiner (Fred Joiner), Nikki Peele (Congress Heights on the Rise), and David Garber (And Now, Anacostia). This interactive exhibition includes community participation -- everyone is invited to bring their own photographs to hang on the community wall and assist the gallery in telling a visual story of Anacostia. The exhibit will evolve over the course of the show, as local residents and bloggers react to and build their story.

(Contact us to be involved: bferraro@archdc.org / 202-365-8392)

Exhibit will be on display until September 10th, 2010. Melani Douglass will leading educational workshops during this exhibit, if interested please contact her at: mdouglass@archdc.org

HIllcrest gets hip!!!

Hillcrest has officially joined the Social media world. Yes that is right, my neighborhood is on Facebook!!!! Check us out and be sure to "like" us.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh No to Wings to Go

Well lookie here. Wings to Go opened in the Fairfax Village Shopping Center about two weeks ago. It's in the location of the old Seafood Market. Miss V hasn't hoboed the 1 minute walk to check them out yet. Mainly because that shopping center is the bane of my existence (overly dramatic, I know). I did drive by one night and noticed that there is NO plexiglass between the customers and the staff.

Anywho, I come home today to this letter from the Office of Zoning. Apparently, the owner of Wings to Go thought he could operate under the previous tenant's zoning conditions. That isn't the case and not he must go before the zoning board. He has been issued a temporary occupancy permit to operate until the hearing. Assuming nothing catastrophic happens between now and October, I can't imagine them not getting the special exception.

If you didn't receive the letter or haven't been home yet to read it, consider yourself informed.

Be the ANC7B06 Commissioner

Fairfax Village is located in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 7B and Single Member District 06. That's right we have an ANC that is elected to represent us. Without looking it up, do you know the name of the Commissioner for 7B06? Have you ever seen the Commissioner for 7B06 in Fairfax Village? Better yet, have you every received an email, newsletter, or any communication from the Commissioner for 7B06? Bueller, anyone (movie reference... Ferris Bueller's Day Off).

All that to say, petitions will be available for ANC starting August 4th. To qualify all you need is 25 signatures from your single member district. For more information about becoming an ANC, We Love DC put together a handy guide.

I hope that someone from Fairfax Village will step up and run for ANC 7B06. Before you even ask me, Miss V is stretched to the max between running my own company, being President of Fairfax Village IV, volunteering and blogging. However, if you are serious about running, Miss V will help with getting participation and support from Fairfax Village.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Looking back to move forward

(photo taken in 1947 courtesy of DDOT)

DDOT has opened their photo vault to the public. Of course Miss V was feverishly searching for photos East of the River. I found three of Pennsylvania Ave SE that were taken in the mid-1940s. The photo above is looks like it's taken west of the Minnesota Ave and Pennsylvania Ave SE intersection looking East. Call me crazy, but it seems like DDOT is spending a lot of money to restore Penn Ave to what it was in 1947. Observe the pedestrian scale lighting and the grass medians that give the street a boulevard feel.
(photo taken in 1946 courtesy of DDOT)

This photo is looking west on Penn Ave SE toward the intersection with Minnesota Ave.
The Morton building stands out (now a beauty supply shop). I hope no matter how this area redevelops that the Morton building stays. It has a lot of character. It's interesting that the grass that separates the sidewalk from the street does not exist today, although it will exist at the completion of the Penn Ave Great Streets Project. What's old is new again.
(photo taken in 1945 courtesy of DDOT)
This photo is taken from Minnesota Ave looking Northwest-ish to Penn Ave SE. It's a shame that all the open space from this photo is gone or chopped up to the point where it might as well be gone.

Read Out in Marvin Gaye Park

Tonight (7/28) there will be a discussion about the book A Lesson before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

The READ OUT is inspired by The National Endowment of the Arts' The Big Read, which is an annual event to encourage Americans to read and discuss one book. The READ OUT is developed to support that mission and to support the community around Marvin Gaye Park. The READ OUT will be every Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the tranquility of Marvin Gaye Park.

To reclaim Marvin Gaye Park from its stigma as a crime and drug haven, come out and support The READ OUT.

Sponsored by Liberated Muse Productions, Mahoghanybooks.com, and Washington Parks and People.

Find them on Facebook.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking


OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - The saga of FVSC still drags on. The property manager assured Councilmember Alexander's staff they would keep the property clean; however, there is still trash. The hedges still are not cut and the lighting in still bad. Stay tuned, people. We may have to resort to blowing up some email inboxes.

Street Repair - Still no repairs to the 2000 block of Fort Davis Street and the 3800 block of W Street SE. The petitions for speed humps on the 2000 block of Fort Davis St and 3800 block of W Street SE are circulating around the block to replace the petitions that DDOT lost.

3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE - No update. The building is still an eye sore.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - The Community Association is open to discussing the opportunity to engage in a public private partnership. Miss V is going to set up an initial meeting between all parties.

CLOSED ITEMS
None at this time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Village do you live in?

Miss V gets a lot of request for information about Fairfax Village. Fairfax Village is comprised of nine condo associations. Each association has a Board of Directors. Seven of the nine Village (1-7) banded together to form the Community Association. Each Village has a representative on the Community Association Board. Yes all the layers are unnecessarily ridiculous.

If you are looking to purchase, I attached a map so you can check the addresses to see what Village that's in. Note that each Village has different condo fees. While my Village (4) has the highest condo fees, we have one of the best maintained properties in the Village. Village 6 is a close second.

One piece of advice if you buy a condo, regardless if it's in Fairfax Village or anywhere else in the US, always request a copy of the approved budget and most recent audit BEFORE you buy.

Word on the street

Miss V was unable to attend the Ward 7 Candidates Forum and Straw Poll. I read the Washington Post recap of the event. However, I prefer the insider's recap and of course I want to share it with you. I'd like to introduce my guest blogger. He's a long time Ward 7 resident (30+years), who is blogging under the alias "Mr. Bulletproof" (which should make you giggle if you know what that name is mocking). Without further ado, I give you Mr. Bulletproof.
Miss V. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to provide my view of the Ward 7 Straw Poll. I was not able to attend the Council Chair debate. The only comment I heard about it was from Councilmember K. Brown's staff. They thought he did very well. However, I did notice there were a significant number of Orange shirts in the crowd. Even though Ward 7 is considered Brown's territory, Orange was able to get a decent turn-out.

In the Mayor's race the general feel from the crowd was Mayor Fenty was being extremely dishonest with all the stats and figures presented. As a matter of fact, Candidate Sulimon Brown made the comment that the Mayor is building parks and libraries in the community, but not employing anyone from the community neither during the construction nor after they've been completed. Fenty also lobbied to keep the jobs of his existing staff (Rhee, Lanier, etc). If I recall none of them were employed in those positions before he became mayor so why would the new mayor NOT be able to do what every other mayor has done and that is choose his or her own staff. Mindboggling to say the least. What is even more incredible is that Chairman Gray will not say as mayor HE and not the previous mayor makes those decisions. It shows a lack of leadership and looks very weak.

Others in the crowd were not exactly thrilled with Gray. Mainly the sentiment is that he is from Ward 7 and yet has done nothing major for the Ward. Has he even had a fundraiser in Ward 7? When is the last time he attended Ray's the Steaks East River or the Denny's? Let's say that Mr. Gray has many undecided voters in his own backyard and if he does not step it up and acknowledge this he may NOT be the shoo-in he this he is in Ward 7 for Mayor.

Mr. Bulletproof

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Send your comments

NOW is your time to weigh-in on proposed Housing Voucher Program changes related to eviction of tenants.

Comments can be submitted until September 3, 2010, 5 pm to
Hans Froelicher, General Counsel
Office of the General Counsel, DCHA
1133 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 210
Washington, DC 20002-7599
hfroelic@dchousing.org
p: (202) 535-1015

Due to the affordability of Fairfax Village and other locations East of the River, we have "investors" that purchase units over here and then rent out to people receiving housing vouchers. I have no issues with anyone (black, white, rich, poor, gay, straight) that wants to live in my community peacefully. We have people receiving housing vouchers, who keep their units cleaner than most homeowners living in their units and are extremely pleasant people.

However, since I've lived here, the units in my Village that have caused the most problems (drug activity, foot traffic, insect infestation) were receiving housing vouchers. We had this one woman in my building who had men in and out her unit all hours of the night and a "boyfriend" living with her and selling drugs out of the unit. The cops were always at my building breaking up an altercation. Not to mention for the year that she lived her the entire building was infested with roaches. (Note: I haven't had a single roach since she left).

We had another unit were a disabled man was letting his brother live with him despite the fact MPD had an arrest warrant on the brother. The drug activity in that unit was so bad that the Condo Association received threats of lawsuits from other homeowners. This disabled man has since died and the unit is now empty.

Needless to say, Miss V has A LOT to say on this topic.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking


OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - The saga of FVSC drags on yet another week. Councilmember Alexander's office spoke with the property manager. They are going to attempt to keep the shopping center clean. Our meeting with Councilmember Brown was rescheduled to August 1st.

Street Repair - Still no repairs to the 2000 block of Fort Davis Street and the 3800 block of W Street SE. We learned some bad news about the speed humps. Apparently the petition was misplaced by DDOT, so we have to start from scratch. Two steps forward, three steps back.

3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE - It looks like some repairs were being made to the building over the weekend.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - Miss V is cooking something up. The government agency is willing to come to the table to talk. Now if I can just get the Community Association to the table. Stay tuned.

CLOSED ITEMS
3810 Southern Ave SE - DC Housing Authority is completing a modernization project. They've also improved the landscaping.

Slow down

According to Washington Post, there are 12 new speed cameras in DC, 10 of them are East of the River. To help people get adjusted the system will issue warnings until August 11th.

Locations:
  • 5200 block of Southern Avenue in the southeast direction (SE)
  • Both directions in the 3500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue (SE)
  • 1400 block of Alabama Avenue (SE)
  • Suitland Parkway near Stanton Road (SE)
  • Interstate 295 at Exit 1 southbound lane (SW)
  • 3100 block of North Capitol Street (NE)**
  • 4100 block of South Dakota Avenue (NE)**
  • Two cameras in both directions of I-295 at Eastern Avenue (NE)
** are located West of the River

According to the article there are people questioning the logic of the locations. Personally, I'm happy about the ones on I-295 and Suitland Parkway. People drive excessively fast in those areas and usually they are sporting an MD license plate. In addition, I feel like everyday there is a new accident on I-295, especially in the stretch from East Capitol to Eastern Ave Bridge. We've had one for several months on Southern Ave SE between 36th Place and Suitland Road. Even with the mobile speed camera, I've had a car with MD plates attempt to pass me on the right despite the fact that it's only one lane in each direction.

If I sound like I'm picking on MD drivers, please believe I am. Do people from DC speed around my neighborhood? Yes, but a large majority of the speeders I've observed have MD plates.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Capital Bike Share in the East - Take II



DDOT just updated the map. Apparently the map got out before DDOT had a chance to finish their edits. My previous post is still relevant.

Penn Ave SE Great Streets FAQ

For anyone that has traveled over the Sousa Bridge this year, you know what a nightmare Pennsylvania Ave SE looks like with all the construction. But it's just a little bit of pain for a gain. Below are the response to questions from the public by DDOT (Miss V is just sharing the info). If you have any questions about these responses or new questions, contact Chinaka Young, DDOT Outreach Coordinator at chinaka.young@volkert.com.

1. Is there a plan to modify these traffic lights cycles to better accommodate the new traffic pattern?
Yes, DDOT traffic engineers are modeling what changes need to be made once the traffic patterns are implemented.

2. Are renderings of the project available?
Conceptual render­ings of the project are available on the DDOT website, and while these renderings were developed prior to the design documents, these renderings illustrate the general concept of the ultimate condition of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Pictures will be taken as segments of the project are completed and will be available in the DDOT archives.

For conceptual renderings download the pdf at http://bit.ly/bQpJJk and see 28, 30 & 32.

3. What can we expect in the future?
New sidewalks will be constructed on both sides of the street for the full length of Pennsylvania Avenue boosting the safety of pedestrians as they travel along the roadway. New street lighting along the corridor will maximize visibility for motorists and increase safety in the community by de­creasing dark spots. Special treatments in the commercial areas will not only create a distinct appearance for Penn-Branch Shopping Center and Fairfax Village Shopping Center areas, but al­lows all foot traffic a more pedestrian-friendly shopping area. Additional up­grades include a completely landscaped median that will provide walkers a safe place to stand in the middle of an active avenue, new crosswalks, and improved signal and traffic management.

4. How long will the project take?
This project is scheduled to be completed by December 2011; however, construction on Pennsylvania Avenue project is contingent upon weather conditions and consequently may increase of decrease the anticipated timeline.

5. Will the power lines be placed underground?

The power lines will not be placed underground. This was a decision made by PEPCO

6. Can the ‘No Right Turn on Red’ restriction Pennsylvania Avenue and Branch Avenue be lifted to reduce the back up in the eastbound lane during rush hour?

Due to conflicts with pedestrian movements and safety, we cannot allow right turns on red at this location.

DDOT still working on map

So apparently the map that DDOT posted on their website with the proposed locations for the Capital Bikeshare Program was not final. Stay tuned

Capital Bike Share in the East

DDOT has announced preliminary locations for the expanded Capital Bikeshare Program. DDOT has selected 100 locations throughout the City for the bike stations. Click here for a map of the proposed stations. The network will also include over 100 bike stations in Arlington County. The current Smartbike DC Program allows people to borrow a bike for up to 24 hours for an annual membership fee of $40.

According to the proposed locations map for DC, it looks like 11 stations will be located East of the River. The two closest to Fairfax Village are Penn Branch Shopping Center (little over 0.25-mile) and the Safeway Shopping Center on Alabama (little less than 0.5-mile).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ward 7 Straw Poll


Ward 7 Democrats and DC Democratic Women Host
Council Chair and Mayoral Forum and Straw Poll
Saturday July 24, 2010
8:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Fort Davis Community Center (3 blocks from Fairfax Village)
1400 41st ST SE

  • 8:30 - 9:15 AM Continental Breakfast and Registration
  • 9:45 - 11:00 AM Council Chair Forum
  • 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM Mayoral Forum
  • 12:00 - 2:30 PM Straw Poll
Miss V will miss the Straw Poll due to a prior engagement. Even if I was available I probably wouldn't vote because I'm VERY undecided in every race. Yes, as politically active as I am, I have no idea who I'd vote for if I had to vote today. I believe that the Straw Poll is going to draw the decided voters. As I talk to more and more of my neighbors, I strongly believe there is a HIGH number of undecided voters in Ward 7 for the Mayoral and Chairman races. No one is really talking at the at-large race.

Newest resident of Fairfax Village

The newest Fur Baby on the block. She doesn't have a name yet, but she is cute as pie.

R.E.E.L. Candidate Forum TONIGHT

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I love about the East

Last's night concert in Fort Dupont Park was so much fun. The Summer Theater was packed with people from East of the River, Maryland, and Virginia with some sprinkles of West of the River. Kids and adults of all ages gather to listen to the smooth sounds of Cops Come Knocking (a band formed by cops) and Kindred and the Family Soul. I sat on a steep hill. Many of the men where assisting the ladies with getting up and down the hill.

The only bad thing was parking. Where I parked, I really could have just walked from home. Literally, I parked about a quarter mile from my house. They block off Ft Dupont Drive for pedestrians only at 6pm. I'm surprised some enterprising individual hasn't thought of a pedicab or golf cart business to transport people up and down the hill. I would have paid $2-3 dollars for a ride.

One thing I found interesting is not a single candidate was there campaigning. Now to be fair to them, I don't know if there are rules against campaigning on Federal park land or something of the like. If they are allowed, some free popsicles would be nice. Just saying.

Summer Concerts in the park runs until August 21st. Click here to see the schedule.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Column in East of the River

Miss V forgot to mention that I now write a column for East of the River (EOR) publication called Living Local, Viva Local. The main objective of my column is to highlight everyday life East of the River. If you know of a businesses, places, or reoccurring events that I should highlight, please email me at vod2@cornell.edu.

Far Northeast Livability Study

Far Southeast had our community meeting in June. Now it's Far Northeast's turn. DDOT will be holding a community meeting
Saturday June 17, 2010
10am- 1pm
Friendship Edison PCS/Collegiate Academy at Carter G. Woodson
(4095 Minnesota Ave NE)

This is your opportunity to share with DDOT your issues, concerns, questions, and ideas related to transportation. Can make the meeting? No worries you can share your thoughts on the Comment Map.

For more information about the study visit the project website.

At least someone cares

Miss V has been trying to get some answers regarding 3810 Southern Ave SE (The Villager), which is adjacent to Fairfax Village. I was finally able to get in contact with the Director of Facilities. They moved the residents out about seven months ago. Since then the building has been undergoing modernization. On a walk with my dogs I noticed fresh mulch. They intend to move residents back in once the renovations are complete.

Fairfax Village also owns the tennis courts that are also adjacent to The Villager. Wouldn't it be great if we could do a public-private partnership to turn the tennis courts into a shared community space? I'm thinking maybe a play area for kids, a mini-dog park, and some areas just sit and enjoy the outside. **wheels are turning**

Kudos to DC Housing Authority for upgrading their property. Now if we could only get the owners of 3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE and the Fairfax Village Shopping Center to followed suit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Last call for speeding

Get in your speeding while it last, because Fairfax Village is getting speed humps. These street markings showed up on Monday. There will be two on the 2000 block of Fort Davis St SE and two on the 3800 block of W Street SE (which is contiguous to Fort Davis St SE). I think the general sentiment around the Village is excitement. We get a lot of cut through traffic that fly down the street.

There are a few neighbors that are grumbling about them. The interesting thing about the grumblers are 1) they don't drive and 2) they're never outside. I think some people just don't want change. Although, I have heard from other parts of Hillcrest that have speed bumps there are mixed reviews from the neighbors.

Miss V has to give credit where credit is due. These speed bumps are a result of dedicated citizens that have been making noise over the last few years about the speeding issues. I'm looking forward to the full implementation.

Cautiously Happy

The Washington City Paper reports:

It’s finally over for Skyland Town Center in Ward 7: The approvals part, at least. After a process lasting for the better part of a decade, involving an eminent domain fight and strong protests from the neighbors, on Monday the Zoning Commission waved off a last-minute appeal from the homeowners on Fort Baker Drive–who had objected to the potential effects from runoff and construction on their land–and okayed the planned unit development.

Now, the developers have three years to file building permits for the construction, during which time they’ll keep working to nail down an anchor tenant (mostly likely a grocery store) for the 315,000 square feet of retail. The complex will also include 468 residential units, composed of mixed-income condos and rentals.

For the full article click here.

Miss V isn't jumping for joy quite yet. As the Washington City Paper reports, the developers have three years to file for construction permits. Word on the street is the developers are seeking to extend that to seven years. I haven't been able to get my hands on the letter that some people received, but as soon as I do I will post it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking

Since last Wednesday I gave an update on things cooking in the neighborhood, I decided to start a segment called "Wednesday Stew". I'll give update on things happening behind the scenes. Please feel free to inform me of new issues.

OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - The saga of FVSC continues. We had a meeting scheduled with Councilmember Brown, but I received an email from an organization that stating the CM is confirmed to attend their Candidates Forum at the same time as our meeting with the CM. Needless to say, I think we were bumped without so much as an apology. Councilmember Alexander's office called me yesterday to discuss the issues. I sent them all the information from last year's meeting with the property manager. They are supposed to give me an update next week.

Street Repair - The 2000 block of Fort Davis Street and the 3800 block of W Street SE are on the street repair (not repaving) list. Repairs have not been made to date although there are some interesting markings on the street.

3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE - I tweeted DCRA to get an update on if they were able to send out inspectors. The building is still an eyesore.

3810 Southern Ave SE - I drove by The Villager the other day and saw some interesting things. The DC Housing sign has been removed, the landscaping has been improved and brown paper has been placed in windows and doors. I have yet to get a response from DC Housing regarding what is happening to that property. I emailed the Director of Planning and Development for the Authority last week. I have not received a response. Guess it's time to move up the food chain to the big boss.

CLOSED ITEMS
Pennsylvania Ave SE Great Streets Project - I met with DDOT project manager on July 7th on behalf of the Co-Owners of Fairfax Village IV. We will lose approximately 4-5 feet of frontage. DDOT has promised to replace anything they take down, i.e. landscaping and the wrought iron fence. There is uncertainty if the sign will need to be relocated or not. DDOT promised to stay in contact with us.

Read Out in Marvin Gaye Park

To reclaim Marvin Gaye Park from its stigma as a crime and drug haven, come out and support The READ OUT.

The READ OUT is inspired by The National Endowment of the Arts' The Big Read, which is an annual event to encourage Americans to read and discuss one book. The READ OUT is developed to support that mission and to support the community around Marvin Gaye Park. The READ OUT will be every Wednesday at 6:30 PM. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the tranquility of Marvin Gaye Park.

On July 27th, there will be a discussion on A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaine.
On August 4th, there will be a showing of the HBO presentation of A Lesson Before Dying staring Don Cheadle in the park at dusk.

Sponsored by Liberated Muse Productions, Mahoghanybooks.com, and Washington Parks and People.

Find them on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ward 7 Whodunit

Among the many things I inherited from my dad, one of them is power of observation. If something changes, I'm usually the first to notice. When I was walking my dogs this morning, I spied with my little eye a campaign sign swap. In May, I snapped a photo of a Fenty campaign sign in Fairfax Village. This morning that very same residence had a Gray campaign sign. Since neither the Green nor the Blue machine have hoboed their way to my hood, I seriously doubt they were involved in the swap.

Perhaps my neighbor changed their mind about who they are supporting. But why the change? Maybe it was Fenty's boy who got a Professional Engineering license after failing the exam seven times that sent them over the edge. Or maybe they like the Gray education reform plan that mimics the Fenty education reform plan because it has a different cover. This is just like the mystery of how many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie pop... the world may never know.

(taken May 17, 2010)


(taken July 13, 2010)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Concerts in Fort Dupont Park

This Saturday kicks off the Summer Concerts in Fort Dupont Park. Bring your family, friends, and pups (as long as they are on leashes) and hobo to my hood to enjoy the sounds of live music. Don't forget to bring your lawn chairs and blankets. The shows are FREE and open to the public.

Shows start promptly at 8:00 PM, rain or shine

July 10th
Jazzing with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington and Juillard: Featuring Jazz Pianist Frank Kimborough, Trumpeter Randall Hayward and youth from 11 states under the direction of Carl Allen and Tony Small

July 17th -

Kindred and the Family Soul
Cops come Knockin

July 24th
Roy Ayers
Brian Lenair

July 31st
WPFW Night with Harold Melvin's Blue Notes
Motown Philly Fantasy
H.A.L.O.

August 7th
Sugarfoot's Ohio Players
Clones of Funk

August 14th
Midnight Starr
Be'la Dona

August 21st
SOS Band
Kinda Blu



Second Saturday Solutions

Join us on Saturday for a cup of 'joe, pancakes or salmon cakes at Big Chair Coffee

Second Saturday Solutions
Saturday July 10, 2010
10am - noon
Big Chair Coffee
2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE

Topic: Whatever is in your little heart. Maybe it's politics. Maybe it's the number of single professionals in DC.

Why you should attend: To connect with old friends and meet some new ones that live in Ward 7 and Ward 8. To support local businesses. To discuss solutions to challenges that we all encounter in our neighborhoods.

History: Second Saturday Solutions started in February during Snowmaggedon by neighbors who were suffering from Cabin Fever. For more information on the gensis of Second Saturdays check out the article in East of the River magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I want it now



Miss V is becoming increasingly a high maintenance citizen and I make no apologies for it. Like Miss Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I want it now. The one thing I learned from working as an urban planner in other jurisdictions around the country is the people who make the most noise usually get what they want. Now Miss V isn't trying to make noise for the sake of making noise. I feel like I have very basic issues, needs, and wants.

I've noticed that other Wards have a lot of "stuff" that my Ward doesn't have. For example, find me one (just one) bike rack in Ward 7 that is not at a library or recreation center. For those of you rolling your eyes at my example, because it may be deemed a "luxury" and not a necessity, let me pose another example. Having a maintained road is a "basic" city function, right? Right now driving down my road is equivalent to off-roading. Even the strongest of stomachs will get motion sickness. I put in a 311 request over a month ago. Still not fixed, so Miss V took to tweeting DDOT. According to a tweet back from DDOT, some repairs will be done on my street in the next few weeks.

While Miss V has been putting in a lot of legwork for her community, we need more voices from the community to get what we want. Here's what YOU (as a taxpayer) can do:
  • Put in a 311 request no matter how minute the issue seems to be. You can call 311 (make sure to get the confirmation number) or go online to http://311.dc.gov/
  • Once your 311 request has been resolved, complete the customer satisfaction survey
  • If your 311 request has NOT been resolved in a timely fashion, follow-up with that respective agency or submit a new 311 request.
  • If you have a concern that isn't necessarily 311 related, call the respective agency and ask questions until your issues has either been resolved or addressed in some manner.
Now that you are ready to take on the DC Government to get what you want, let me give you nine tips based on my experience working in public sector and dealing with DC government workers:
  1. Always ask the name of the person to whom you are speaking with.
  2. Keep a copious record of conversations, emails, meetings etc related to your issue. Always note the date, time, and what that person said. Do NOT delete any emails until your issue has been resolved.
  3. Repeat back the information you've obtained from said government type to ensure you understand what they are saying.
  4. If follow-up is needed, ask what are the next steps and press them for when you can expect to hear back from them. In your copious notes, make sure to write down the date and time.
  5. Follow-up any face-to-face meetings and/or phone calls with an email recapping the conversation within 48 hours. Don't forget to thank them for their time.
  6. Do NOT allow agencies jerk you back and forth between agencies. Trust me, it will happen. When it does happen, send an email to contacts from both agencies, CC the director of both agencies, outline your issues, outline the discussions you've had with employees in both agencies, and request that they resolve the issue.
  7. When number 6 doesn't work, email the Councilmember that has oversight of the respective agencies, CC your respective Ward Councilmember as a courtesy, and request for them to resolve the issue.
  8. Boil your issue down to 140 characters and Tweet the respective agency. Everyone in twitter land can see your tweet. Believe me, they will respond.
  9. When all else fails there is one more tactic. Miss V can't tell you what it is because some of you may try to use it all willy-nilly. But, at least you know it exist.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

There's a lot cooking

There is a lot happening behind the scenes in Fairfax Village. I thought I would share with my faithful blog readers.

OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - There is so much wrong with that shopping center: loitering, low-quality retail, trash, poor landscaping, unmaintained parking lot to name a few. For over a year, concerned residents (including yours truly) have been trying to reach out to the property manager and that got us NOWHERE. We cornered Councilmember-at-large K. Brown after the HCCA Meeting on Saturday. He has promised to meet with us within the next few weeks. **I heart election year**

Pennsylvania Ave SE Great Streets Project - I'm meeting with DDOT project manager on July 7th on behalf of the Co-Owners of Fairfax Village IV. Our concern is the exact alignment of the new construction. How much land will we "lose"? Will the brick Fairfax Village sign be relocated? Will our wrought iron fence be relocated/replaced? Even though the construction hasn't reached our end, I still think as affected property owners we deserve the courtesy of an informational meeting.

Street Repair - Speaking of transportation, I've been tweeting DDOT regarding the poor pavement conditions of the 2000 block of Fort Davis Street and the 3800 block of W Street SE. They looked into my 311 service request. We aren't on the repaving list, but in the next few weeks they are going to come out to repair the road to make it smoother.

3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE - The apartment building located across the street from Fairfax Village is a SUPER DOOPER eyesore on the block. One of my neighbors sent an email to the Mayor's Outreach Office. In addition, I tweeted the address to DCRA. Needless to say, it is on the "list" to be investigated. Interestingly enough, I looked it up on the new DCRA system and it appears that building has numerous violations dating back to 2002. *shaking my head*

3810 Southern Ave SE - The Villager apartment building is owned by the DC Housing Authority. It's been sitting vacant for several months now. I contacted DC Housing to complain about the lack of maintenance of the landscape. I've also tried to get information on what's going to happen to the building. Everyone I've talked to at DC Housing says the same thing to me "How do you know it's our property?" I guess the fact that DC Housing Authority was on the sign and it's listed in their property database wasn't enough. **epic fail**

CLOSED ITEMS
Bus Shelter at 38th and Pennsylvania Ave SE - We put in a service request to have the graffiti removed from inside the bus shelter. My neighbor confirmed last night that the inside had been painted. **little victories**

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Retail Opportunities at Ft. Davis Shopping Center

As I reported earlier, construction on the Ft. Davis Shopping Center has begun. Anyone interested in retail opportunities at the Fort Davis Shopping Center, contact Ms. Charlotte Fox of Lewis Realty Services at (202) 585-1143.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th

HCCA Meeting Recap

The Hillcrest Community Civic Association Meeting was this morning. HCCA takes thorough minutes, so there is no need for me to give a detailed play-by-play. I'll stick to the highlights. The best part of the meeting was when the HCCA President asked all guests and visitors to stand. A little over half the room stood up and introduced themselves as living in Fairfax Village. They even went so far as to state the village number. I had to chuckle, because I didn't even expect us to roll THAT deep.

The guest speaker was Cecilia Jones from the Community Criminal Justice Accountability Initiative (CCJAI). She provided a demonstration for us on how to track offenders from arrest to hopefully sentencing. Below are links to information that Cecilia provided during the presentation, in addition, to some she sent me a while ago (FYI, you have to wait 20 seconds for the file to download, but it is free):
After the meeting, the ladies of Fairfax Village +1 (we had a stowaway from Deanwood) cornered Councilmember Brown regarding the Fairfax Village Shopping Center, which is not living up to its economic potential. Jokingly, we told him we'd vote for him if he could promise he would increase the number of eligible bachelors in the Village. Councilmember Brown extended the olive branch to meet with Fairfax Village to discuss the top 4 pressing issues. (I heart election season)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Illegal vs Legal Fireworks

It's that time of year again. Yes, fireworks time. During the Fourth of July, Miss V is so happy that she has a garage. When I first moved here, I made the mistake of leaving my car on the street. The next morning it was covered in fireworks ash. This is also the time of year where illegal fireworks rear their heads. Neighbors it's up to you to be vigilant. Here is some information from the DC Fire/EMS website.

To report the use or sale of illegal fireworks, contact the DC Fire/EMS Department of Fire Prevention Division at (202) 727-1600 or (202) 727-1614.

Legal and Permitted Fireworks
  • Sparklers of 20 inches or less
  • Torches
  • Box Fire
  • Fountains
  • Cones
  • Dip Sticks
  • Non-poisonous Snakes
  • Paper Novelty Items
  • Colored Lights
  • Paper Caps
Illegal Fireworks
  • Any Fireworks that move, explode, emit a spar or flame greater than 12 feet
  • Side mounted fuse or a fuse inserted at any point along the length of the product's surface
  • Contain mercury, arsenic, magnesium, phosphorous, or any highly oxidizing agent
In order words, if it sounds like gun shots or bombs and/or it explodes above a second floor window, it's probably illegal.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

HCCA Meeting Saturday

Hehehe... Neighbors, don't be offended by the Maxine cartoon. It's hilarious. Laugh.

This Saturday's Hillcrest Community Civic Association Meeting is going to be about public safety. The guest speaker is Ms. Cecilia Jones with the Community Criminal Justice Accountability Initiative (CCJAI). She is the guru when it comes to tracking arrests and working with the community to write community impact statements. During her presentation she is going to use data from PSA 606 and show us how we can take control of the safety in our neighborhood.

Hillcrest Community Civic Association
Saturday July 3, 2010, 10am-noon
Hillcrest Recreation Center (3200 Denver St SE)

We are going to walk from Fairfax Village. Let's meet at corner of 38th and W st at 9:30 AM.

Can't make the meeting?? Then follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/Dizzyluv25. I'll do my best to tweet what's happening at the meeting. And of course, Miss V will have a recap.