Monday, August 30, 2010

Duels in ANC7B?

Miss V was been so busy with this MPD 6D substation mess, that I neglected the ANC 7B elections. Candidates have until September 3rd to submit their petitions to be on the ballot. This morning I was checking the list of people circulating petitions for ANC and I saw some interesting things in ANC 7B.

ANC7B03 - The current ANC7B Chair Commissioner Yvonne Moore is being challenged by Latisha Atkins. Does that name ring a bell? Ms Atkins works in the Executive Office of the Mayor in the Office of Community Relations and Services. She is one of the Ward 7 representatives.

ANC7B07 - The incumbent Robert Richards is being challenged by DL Humphrey. How about that name? Sound familiar? Mr. Humphrey is the Assistant Director of Constituent Services for Councilmember Alexander. Not to mention he was also a challenger to the Councilmember when she won her seat in the special election after Vince Gray became the Council Chairman.
Miss V has her eye brows raised on this situation. I'm interested to see how it all plays out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

SOS = Save our Substation: Mendo's Staff Responds

I may not agree with all Mendelson's legislative policies, but I think he has one of (if not THE) best staff in the Wilson Building. Since I started reaching out to him last November, I've gotten to know and respect his staff. In less than 24 hours after my email to Mendelson and posting my email on my blog, TWO of his staffers contacted me to address some of my requests. His Administrative Assistant contacted me to get the information about existing community meetings so she can coordinate Mendelson's attendance. The Administrative Assistant for the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary contacted me to inform me the public hearing was pushed back from 12:00 to 4:00 PM on the same day. Many of the residents here work downtown, so they can stop by the hearing on the way home from work.

At least I know someone's staff is paying attention to our concerns. Now if I can get answers to my questions, I'll be a happy camper.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

SOS = Save our Substation: Some answers, more questions

Miss V did some digging and I got some answers to the questions I asked Councilmember Mendelson. I located the Department of Real Estate Services District Facilities Plan ("Plan") that lists all the leased and owned properties in the City. (Side note: it is more of an inventory than a plan. Semantics, I know). According to the page 27 of the "Plan", the City owns their police stations and substation, with the exception of the Sixth District substation located at 2701 Penn Ave SE and the police offices located at Penn Branch Shopping Center.

Then I was curious about the assessed value of each property. Granted I know the assessed value isn't necessarily the market value, but I just needed a quick apple to apple comparison. Since DC property isn't in the Real Property Tax database, all the information below comes from the DC Citizen Atlas database.

First District Police Substation, 500 E Street SE
Owned
Square Footage: 10,017
Assessed Value (2009): $1,373,460 ($137/sq ft)

Third District Police Substation, 750 Park Road NW
Owned
Square Footage: 13,793
Assessed Value (2009): $1,722,740 ($125/sq ft)

Sixth District Police Substation, 2701 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Leased
Leased Price: There are discrepancies, but I've seen $250,000 - $500,000 per year
Square Footage: 35,708
Assessed Value (2009): $1,520,580 ($42/sq ft)

All this information leads me to more questions (on top of the ones I currently have)....
  1. If the assessed value of the 6D substation was $1.5 million in 2009, why was the city paying so much to lease versus just purchasing the property?
  2. From my understanding of the history from the Old Guard in my neighborhood, the city has been leasing that space for several years. Did the City ever make an offer to purchase the property?
  3. When were the other substations purchased? It appears their value per square foot is significantly higher than the 6D substation.
  4. Is the owner willing to sell the property? Obviously if the owner isn't willing to sell then purchasing is a moot point.
My mama always said I was a curious child. I just want a better understanding the the issue. Is it a dollar and cents issue? Is it an operational efficiency issue? What is the problem we are trying to solve if the 6D substation closes? What problems do we create if the 6D substation closes? Where is the cost-benefit analysis?

SOS = Save our Substation: Letter to Mendo

Miss V sent an email yesterday to Councilmember Mendelson (at-large) who is the Chair of the Committee for Public Safety and Judiciary regarding the 6D Substation. Mendelson has been responsive to my requests in the past, so I don't expect anything less this time.
To: Councilmember Mendelson
CC: Councilmembers Alexander (Ward 7), K. Brown (at-large), Evans (Ward 2), Gray (Chairman), Bowser (Ward 4), and Cheh (Ward 3); Mendelson's staff

Councilmember Mendelson,

I understand there will be a public hearing on Thursday September 23rd regarding the District's plans for the location of the MPD 6D Substation currently located at 2701 Penn Ave SE. Given that this oversight hearing is during the workday andmanny of the affected residents will be unable to attend, I would like to make the following requests:
  • An additional public meeting in the affected communities and/or
  • Members of the Committee on Public Safety and Judiciary attend established community meetings to hear from the community. That includes, but not limited to, ANC 7B, PSA 605, 606, and 607, and Civic associations (Hillcrest, Penn-Branch, Fort Davis, Fort Dupont, Fairlawn, and others I may have midded).
In order to ensure my understanding of the situation so I provide testimony based on accurate information, I request the following prior to the hearing:

1. Information on relocation options
  • Comparable locations in the southern part of the police district that MPD has investigated as potential locations (if such an analysis has been completed)
  • Alternative plans being considered
2. Information on ALL Police Substations in DC
  • Location of the substation including the Police District
  • Is the substation leased or owned?
  • If leased, what is the annual lease? When will the lease expire? Does the City plan to renew the lease?
  • If owned, what was the purchase price? When was the property purchased?
  • City's proposed plans as it relates to the other police substations
I look forward to your timely response.

Warmly,

Miss V

"When one commits oneself to the struggle, it must be for a lifetime" - Angela Davis

I know the Council is on recess, but hopefully I'll hear something soon. For the record, I have no hidden agenda. The engineer in me needs to understand the big picture so I shape my thoughts and provide relevant solutions.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking


CLOSED ITEMS
Speed Humps - The speed humps were installed last week. Since they've been installed the traffic on my block as significantly decreased. Not to mention that people are driving a lot slower. We've also noticed that there is much less trash on the grass in the mornings. Come to think of it, I rarely see trash anymore.

OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - Heavy sigh. Miss V is going to turn up the heat on the property manager.

Street Repair - Well speed humps were installed, but the rest of my road wasn't repaired.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - Miss V us trying not to be discouraged, but the success or failure of this project falls squarely on the leadership (or lack there of) of the Fairfax Village Community Association.

Vacant Lot on 38th - A few Fairfax Village guerillas are working on a plan for that property. Stay tuned

Zip Cars - We are still waiting on our site visit.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SOS = Save our Substation

Well I submitted my question for Chief Cathy Lanier, but apparently my question didn't make it on air. Whatevs... One of my neighbors from PSA 605 shared this Save our Substation document they prepared in December 2008, when talks of the substation closing first started.

SOS = SAVE OUR SUBSTATION

The members of the 6th District Community (PSA 605) provide this list of concerns regarding the closing of the Substation at 2701 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. We respectfully ask to be provided more information on discussions or finalization on the fate of the property. Thank you.

  • Deployment of officers from HQ could result in overcrowding in an already overcrowded office space
  • Substation helps to cut down on 6D transportation expenses
  • Parking problems at HQ can also result since there are 318 officers, using 51 parking spaces, driving 63 cars; neighborhood at 42nd Street, NE will be swamped
  • PSA members (605 & 607), community groups, tenant associations (O Street Tenants) and other community based groups use the sub-station as meeting places; accessible to handicapped; parking is accessible; minimizing the partnership for problem solving
  • PSA’s near the sub-station have an alarming rate of stolen autos, theft from autos, drug related arrests, robberies, burglaries and prostitution; we need our officers close by to be deployed to locations within the PSA; criminals use Pennsylvania Avenue to evade MPD by diverting onto I-295, Sousa Bridge and to DC/MD line cutting down on response time; ease of DC/MD boarder response/assistance
  • Crime in the immediate area PSA 605 & PSA 607 is deterred due to the substation location
  • Community groups such as faith based organization Southeast DC Partnership (Southeast Whitehouse) and ANC 7B offers beautification projects to help deter to crime by planting flowers, shrubs, cutting grass, hedges and donating plants and trees
  • Substation is needed along the PA Ave corridor due to 90,000 vehicles traveling in densely populated area
  • Longtime homeowners (senior citizens) living nearby for over 40-50 years rely on the substation (Partnership in Policing – PIP)
  • 30 bus line passengers feel safer with substation available nearby
  • Substation is located within a residential area where there is a higher volume of parking permits requested
  • Foot beat officers don’t have a rest area off the street
  • Loss of services could pose a huge problem for residents (visitors parking permits, holding areas for transport downtown, offices for Inspector, Captains, Lieutenants and Sergeants, and other needed space would hinder their work services); resources would need to be spread out to other locations causing mass confusion and time consumption
  • Penn-Branch is a leased space therefore we could stand to lose that too!
  • Satellite centers could have increased hours providing more services to our community however this is not a viable or accessible means for most including senior citizens and community groups who live near the current substation
  • DOES and DHS is slated to be built here however there’s no set plan to accommodate us in any of those sites since they are not within our boundaries
  • There are not a lot of redevelopment options in Ward 7 (PSA’s 605 & 607) to build a sub-station. If it’s going to cost $500K to rent the space, why not have the DC government build a new-substation for that amount?
  • Alternative option: Consider an option to relocate to the 2200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue where Dog & Cat Hospital used to be. Why can’t we get some of that land down the street? What about Phase 2 of the Revitalization Plan? Can’t the sub-station remain until Phase 2 can be built?
  • $500K is too steep a price to pay per year. Who negotiated this rate? Why haven’t our citizens been notified of this increase?

By the way this will be the first of many post on this issue. Some of our elected leaders WILL be called to the carpet to answer some questions.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I only have 1 question


Tomorrow (8/24) Chief Cathy Lanier will be on TBD at 10:00 AM answering your questions. It is all online at tbd.com, so those of you at work can view or at the very least listen in (don't forget to bring your headphone). Miss V was contacted to ask a question... Oh I have a question. I should have asked her when she sat next to met at dinner at Ray's the Steaks East River. Anywho...

Miss V's Question:
MPD may be consolidating all of 6D in the Northern part of the police district. If a 6D substation does not remain at its current location or comparable location, what is the anticipated increased police response time and what is the potential impact on public safety in the southern part of the district. IF this plan moves forward, what it the plan to mitigate any negative impact to the public safety in the southern part of 6D?

Now for those of you that have no idea what is going on, allow me to give the scrolling marque version of events. (FYI.. scrolling marquee means I'm trying to give enough detail to give you the gist).

Current Situation

  • 6D Station (aka main station) is located at 100 42nd St NE
  • 6D Substation is located at 2701 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Map below shows where both are located in reference to Fairfax Village

View MPD 6D Now in a larger map


Potential Situation
  • 6D Substation lease is up in 2011
  • Nothing is "written in stone" (or so "they" say), but there is "talk" that the entire 6D will relocate to the Merritt School located at 5002 Haynes St NE. This would leave the southern part of 6D without a substation.
Map below shows the proposed 6D station is reference to Fairfax Village



View MPD 6D Proposed in a larger map


Community Concerns
The community is very concerned about the increased response times of police from the potential new station to the Southern part of the Police District and the impact that may have on the public safety of residents. There is a public hearing in September to hear the community's concerns regarding the potential relocation of the 6D Substation. Stay tuned, because we are bringing the heat on this one people and we will need EVERYONE'S help.

Feet in the Street

For those of you that have ever uttered the words, "I have no reason to go East of the River." Now you do. Come and see the beauty of the east on the Feet in the Street.


Saturday August 28, 2010
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Fort Dupont Park

Click here to see a map of the areas.

The following events will take place in AREA 1

9am – 10am Fun Run & Walk

9am – 3pm Free Bike Rentals Courtesy of Bike & Roll

10am – 11am Nature Hike

10am – 3pm Face Painting

10am – 12pm Boxing Demonstration

10:30am – 12pm Baseball Clinic

11:30am -1:30pm Bootcamp Basics

12:30pm – 1:30pm Bootcamp Basics for Kids

1pm – 2pm Yoga
1pm – 3pm DC Department of Health Kettleball Class

1pm – 3pm Washington Nationals Team Appearance

1:30pm – 3pm Tug of War!

The following events will take place in AREA 2

9am – 3pm Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network: Free Produce

9am – 3pm Community Garden Tour

9am – 3pm Capital Bikeshare Demos

9am – 3pm Healthy Cooking Demonstrations
9am – 3pm Tree Climbing and Equipment Demos with d.Trees


The following events will take place in AREA 3

10am – 1pm Airbrush Tattoos

10am – 2pm Rock Climbing Wall

10am – 2pm Recess Rocks Field Day

2pm – 3pm DC Showstoppers


3pm – 4pm End the day with MPD’s very own Kops Come Knockin’! MPD’s Finest Law Enforcement Band will be performing in the Area 1 Amphitheater.


For more information about the event, click here.

Penn Ave SE Great Streets Recap

Mea culpa neighbors for not doing a recap of Thursday's Pennsylvania Ave Great Streets Community Meeting. There wasn't any new earth-shattering information so I honestly just forgot. Big thanks to Commissioner Robin Marlin (7B05)for convening the meeting. The other Commissioners in attendance were Yvonne Moore (7B03) and Phillip Hammond (7B04). Noticeably absent was the Commissioner for 7B06 **coughs**.

  • PEPCO Lines: The long and short is DDOT cannot touch PEPCO power lines. I forgot the estimated figure DDOT gave for undergrounding the wires, but they did mention that resident would have had to pay $1000-2000 to place the lines underground from the main line to their house. Basically if we want any hope of getting the lines underground we would have to organize ourselves and lobby PEPCO. **and there in lies the problem**
  • Medians: Apparently some people do not like the idea of the medians. Instead of being able to turn left into their homes, some people will have to go around the block. Personally Miss V likes them and how it returns the street to similar to how it looked in the photo above circa 1947.
  • Trees/Landscaping: Miss V asked a question about trees. We are concerned that the moving the sidewalk back 4-5 feet will kill our 100 year old pine. Duff from Urban Forestry promised to meet with me to discuss potential impacts. In addition, he suggested having a meeting just on landscaping and trees.
  • Noise/Vibrations: Some residents along Pennsylvania Ave complained about the noise and vibrations from construction and from cars driving over the steel plates. DDOT stated that they are using cork under the steel plates to help muffle the noise. What was most interesting is that they have noise monitors on some of the homes. In addition, they are monitoring some homes and retaining walls to ensure there is no impact to the structural integrity.
  • Flat Tires: Some people have gotten flat tires as a result of the potholes, construction debris, and improperly installed steel plates. If you have gotten a flat tires as a result of the construction SAVE YOUR RECEIPT and bring it to the construction office located at 2410 Minnesota Ave to get reimbursed. Miss V suggests bringing evidence, such as photos of the tire and photos of the location where it happened.
That was the meeting in a nutshell. There were some moments where I wish the mic was cut off while some people were talking.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Seeing is believing

My dog needed to go back out, despite a long walk this morning. I go outside and see DDOT trucks. And then I see this....
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the speed humps are going in. They can't do all of them today since people are parked by the markings. They put up no parking signs so they can do the rest tomorrow. I'm happier than a pig in slop. Hopefully it will discourage the cut through traffic and speeding.

New Pedestrian Bridge Over DC 295

Advice from MPD

I received an email from PSA 606 regarding an increased number of theft from auto in PSA 606 near the Maryland border. The incidents closest to Fairfax Village were on the 3700-3900 blocks of Southern Ave SE and 2100 Block of Suitland Terr SE. MPD said they are mostly "smash and grab", which means they are smashing the window and grabbing whatever is in plain sight.

MPD offers these tips to help reduce theft from auto:
  • Remove ALL valuables from plain sight (i.e. purses, bags, money, stereo faces, GPS, boxes)
  • Make sure your windows are up and your doors are locked
  • Put a club on your car. MPD stated it is extremely rare to find someone stealing a car with a club on it.
  • When getting gas, NEVER leave your purse on the front passenger seat of the car.
These are EASY steps people!!! After having my old car broken into TWICE, Miss V doesn't leave ANYTHING in the car. From my experience if your car is broken into, it is highly unlikely the stolen items will be recovered.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let's practice voting

Coca Cola is holding contest to give $100,000 to a park in the US. The DC parks need you. They are all loooooow on the list. Go here to Vote. You can vote as many times as you want until 8/31.

Who will be part of ANC7B?

As of August 17, 2010 we have two challengers for ANC 7B. People circulating petitions are:
  • ANC 7B01: Holly Muhammad (Incumbent).. word on the street is there may be a challenger
  • ANC 7B02: Zina Williams (Incumbent)
  • ANC 7B06: Richard Evans (Incumbent)..... **side-eye**
  • ANC 7B06: Robert Jordan (Challenger)
  • ANC 7B07: Robert Richards (Incumbent)
  • ANC 7B07: DL Humphrey (Challenger)... FYI: DL is on Councilmember Alexander's staff

Don't sleep in Ward 7

Back in March, Miss V wrote a blog post about voter turn-out in DC. Since we are nearing election, there is no time like the present to remind all the candidates for Mayor, Council Chair, and Council at-Large that WARD 7 VOTES!!!

I looked at the voter turn out for the 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections available on the DC Board of Elections and Ethics website... Here are some truths:
  • In 2004 and 2008 primary election Ward 7 had the 2nd highest voter turn-out, respectively.
  • In 2006, Ward 7 had the 4th highest voter turn-out.
  • In the general elections from 2002-2006, Ward 7 had the 5th for highest voter turn-out.
  • In the 2008 general elections, Ward 7 had the 4th highest voter turn-out.
  • Ward 7 has the 4th highest number of registered voters (as of July 2010)
Also, Miss V is convinced that there are more undecided voters in Ward 7 than are being counted. I know the Ward 7 Straw Poll was overwhelmingly for Gray and K. Brown. However, many of the undecided voters did not attend. More on why voters are undecided to come later this week.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking


OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - Heavy sigh. I sent your suggestions for items in the new convenience store.

Street Repair - A representative from ANC 7B has signed off on our speed humps. Alledgely once the petitions are submitted, we don't lost our spot in the queue.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - Great meeting between the Community Association Board and the public agency. We will be doing a site visit next Tuesday.

Vacant Lot on 38th - A few Fairfax Village guerillas are working on a plan for that property. Stay tuned

Zip Cars - We are awaiting our site visit. Hopefully we'll be approved.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Homework before Thursday's Meeting

Thanks to one of my readers, you have homework. Thursday's ANC meeting is going to be an Community Meeting with DDOT to discuss the Pennsylvania Ave SE Great Streets Project. On the neighborhood listservs, the community has been vocal on the issue of the PEPCO power lines. In the adopted plan, the power lines were supposed to be installed underground. However, according to DDOT, PEPCO decided not to underground the wires.

One of my readers left me a comment providing a link to a report submitted to the Public Service Commission on July 1, 2010 entitled "Study of the Feasibility of Reliability of Underground Electric Distribution in the District of Columbia." As he pointed out in the comment, on the listservs it was communicated by DDOT that undergrounding the wires cost $12 million per mile, however, this report uses $3.5 million per mile. Happy reading!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Who will be ANC7B06?

Who will be ANC 7B06 SMD?
Will it be Miss V?
Will Miss V run for ANC?

Miss V says "Are you cra-zy?
I will not run for ANC"

If not Miss V,
Who will it be?
Who will be ANC 7B06 SMD?
Don't sweat my poetic skills. Okay without further ado, Robert A Jordan has picked up petitions to challenge the incumbent for ANC 7B06. More to come about Robert and his vision as ANC; however, I can say that I think he is a good person for the job. He's quiet and very easy to forget he's in the room (not everyone can be loud as Miss V), but he has great ideas and is a very logical and analytical thinker. He has great ideas to engage the community. He's currently one of the Board members of Fairfax Village IV.

Skyland saga continues

Washington Post had an uninspiring article about Skyland Development. Le Sigh
The long-awaited redevelopment of one of the largest commercial properties east of the Anacostia River is inching its way to fruition, buoyed by approval by the District's zoning commission last month.

But after eight years of delays and legal issues, when Skyland Town Center will open -- and whether retailers will fill it -- is anyone's guess.

Developers hoping to break ground on the $260 million Skyland project, which will go where a dilapidated shopping center stands, saw a glimmer of hope last month when zoning officials approved their ambitious plan.

For full article, click here.

Project Website

Friday, August 13, 2010

CHALLOOOOOOONGE


Miss V put out a call for an viable candidate to by my ANC Commissioner (7B06). After searching high and low, I'm happy to say that I found the right person for the job. This person is community-oriented, has some great ideas, and is probably one of the most tenacious people I know. Who is this person????

The mystery person will be picking up their petition on Monday. I'll officially announce the person on Monday afternoon.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Penn Ave SE Great Streets Community Meeting


ANC 7B (SMD 7B05) Special Meeting: PA AVE Great Street Project

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner R Hammond Marlin (7B05) is convening a Special meeting with the Department of Transportation to provide to citizens updates for this project (timelines, “re-excavations”, landscaping), answers questions (Pepco power lines, water and sewage, and how this all may or may not affect your street) and address other concerns presented to the ANC over the months of the project (i.e., to include but is not limited to, maintaining the corridor in a sanitary manner; parking; how much of my land will be affected; new traffic patterns; start and end work schedules for the site; and site management by designated inspectors, and all other concerns.)


Date: August 19, 2010

Location: Ryland Methodist Church
(Corner of Branch Avenue and S Street, SE)
(Off-street parking and rear lot parking)

Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Refreshments will be served


All ANC 7B SMD’s Residents/Constituents and Proprietors along Pa Avenue are welcomed to attend.
Note: ANC 7B SMD’s are 7B01, 7B02, 7B03, 7B04, 7B05, 7B06, and 7B07)

This is a great opportunity to ask your questions

Second Saturday Solutions

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

Second Saturday Solutions
Saturday August 14, 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

Sign-up for Capital Bikeshare

Residents can now register for the Capital Bikeshare program. The bike stations will be up and running until September, however the early birds can take advantage of discounted memberships. For a limited time only, memberships are available for $50, which is $25 less that the actual cost of membership. Click here, to register.

There are 11 Bike Stations located East of the River. From the map, it appears that most of them are along Minnesota Ave SE. The Village has two locations within reasonable walking distance (less than 1/2-mile):
  • 3200 Pennsylvania Ave (Penn-Branch Shopping Center area)
  • 2604 Good Hope Road (Good Hope Shopping Center area)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DCPS Beautification Day

DC Public Schools Beautification Day will be Saturday August 21, 2010 from 8:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Beautification projects include landscaping, light painting, trash pick-up, and other minor tasks. Anne Beers Elementary School located in Hillcrest (3600 Alabama Ave SE) is on the list. Retirees, young professionals, parents, kids of all ages, come out and make OUR community better.

To register to volunteer, Click Here. Be sure to select Beers Elementary School when you register.

Also if the spirit moves you, feel free to donate to the Beautification Day or school supplies by clicking here.

YES! Organic Market Job Fair Friday


YES! Organic Market (2323 Pennsylvania Ave SE) will be hosting a job fair this Friday August 13, 2010 from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Please arrive early and dress professionally. You don't have to wear a suit and tie, but consider wearing a collar shirt (either button down or polo) and a pair of khakis. Make sure your attire is cleaned and pressed. Show that you have pride in yourself and you are serious about working at YES!

Be a part of the economic development East of the River.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking

NEW ITEM
Zip Cars - Fairfax Village IV submitted an application to have a Zip Car or two in our lot. We are waiting for Zip Car to conduct a site visit. We have several residents who do not have a personal vehicle. In addition, the Zip Car adds to the marketability of our neighborhood. Some Fairfax Village IV homeowners are considered about the impact to the parking, but we are including the zip car in our comprehensive parking plan which will be revealed in September. The Zip Cars would be available to all residents in all villages of Fairfax Village.

OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - Heavy sigh. Councilmember K. Brown's office called me to follow up the meeting we had last week. They are processing the information and reaching out to the owners of the property. On a positive note, don't forget to send me the list of things you are interested in purchasing from the new convenience store.

Street Repair - The pavement on my block is getting worse by the day. I feel like my car is going to be swallowed by the street. My neighbor is almost done collecting signatures for the petition for speed humps.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - Tonight the Community Association Board (+1 AKA me) will be meeting with the public agency this evening to discuss a potential partnership. I am hopeful that everyone will have the vision and leadership for this to move forward.

Vacant Lot on 38th - A few Fairfax Village guerillas are working on a plan for that property. Stay tuned

CLOSED ITEMS
3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE -
I hesitate to put this on the "CLOSED" items list. It appears that things have calmed down in that building and the owner made some improvements to the building. Let's hope it lasts.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

DPW Magic?

Between the time I walked my dogs this morning and our afternoon walk, this little guy magically appeared at the V St and 38th bus stop. Another one magically appeared at the W St and 38th stop. The interesting thing about the W/38th stop is the garbage can was JUST removed from that location less than a month ago. The trash can they removed was in like-new condition. There were a lot of complaints about that one because people too lazy to walk to the dumpsters would dump their household trash in that can. Who knows why it was replaced. Miss V just hopes that if we have the trash cans people will use them appropriately.

Green Teens

Teens from DC is Building Bridges are working on a community garden at THEARC in Ward 8. Miss V was a guest speaker in early July. I helped them put together a community outreach plan. These teens will be conducting a community assessment to determine what produce the community will buy. Then they are going to create and maintain the community garden. For more information here is an excerpt from DC Food for All blog:

This summer, a youth program called DC is Building Green Bridges has been busily gardening, learning about nutrition, and discussing food security issues east of the Anacostia River. Our students are engaged, intelligent, and working hard!

They have created a pilot ‘community needs’ survey to determine the viability of a farmers market at THEARC on Mississippi Avenue—and they’ve just conducted their first surveys at senior centers in wards 7 and 8. They have written their own blog posts and have created a social networking page for the program. Below is the their first blog post, written in the hopes to gain exposure to the program and their project. Enjoy!

Hello world, allow us to introduce ourselves: we are DC is Building Green Bridges. Building Green Bridges is a program based in Washington D.C. consisting of youth who are interested in making a better community by educating and informing the people about eating healthy, making better health choices, and ultimately, changing the way people view our city as a whole by growing our own food in the city.

For the full blogpost, click here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

DC Circulator East of the River???

DDOT is partnering with several agencies to plan the DC Circulator's future including identification of priority corridors for service improvements and expansion over the next 5-10 years.

Share your opinion, click here.
Submit comments about the study, click here.
For more information about the study, click here.

Speak up East of the River or else we'll be left out

Safeway Safeway Safeway

There were two Safeway representatives at the HCCA meeting on Saturday. Mr. Muckle, PR Director, and Mr. Parsons, Assistant Manager at Alabama Ave SE store addressed the community concerns outlined in a letter regarding the Safeway on Alabama Ave SE. It seems to me that many of the issues can be addressed with one or two simple solutions.
  1. Safeway has agreed to add bike racks (whoop whoop)
  2. Apparently since the bag tax, they noticed that more and more hand baskets are disappearing from stores across the City. The community made it clear that we should not be punished for the actions of a few. Safeway agreed to examine how to prevent hand basket theft.
  3. The community was very disappointed the self-checkout lines were removed. Safeway claimed that people were stealing groceries. The community countered that people with baskets full of groceries were using the self-checkout. Safeway agreed to reconsider the self-check out lines with a 15 item or less restriction.
  4. Speaking of lines, Safeway has agreed to enforce the 15 items or less in the express lines. Miss V suggested they hire local teens to assist with bagging groceries during the peak hours. That would assist with getting people through lines quicker and cut down on hand basket thefts. Safeway stated they are currently hiring for positions in the store.
  5. Safeway has agreed to keep the store clean and consider power-washing outside more often.
  6. Safeway has agreed to ensure their employees are dressed professionally (i.e. pressed and clean uniforms). They did say that if you see an employee not looking presentable to address it with the Manager on duty before you leave the store.
  7. Safeway stated if there are specific products you would like stocked, provide them with the specific information about the brand, type, etc.
Safeway did state that they requested the community be more vocal when they are in the store. If you see an issue, then address it with the Manager on duty while you are still at the store or within a day or two.

Mayoral and Federal Candidate Forum

Friday, August 6, 2010

Be an extra in Transformers

Just received this through twitter:

Transformers 3 is preparing to film in Washington, DC later this summer (dates and details not yet finalized).

If you are interested in working as an extra on this film, please submit ALL of the information below to movie@taylorroyall.com. ONLY ONE submission per person, please. We will not be contacting anyone until the shoot gets closer, so if you don’t get a response please know that we did receive your submission – there is no need to resubmit.

SUBJECT LINE: T3 extra – Your Name – Union OR Non-union

Name:
Phone Number:
Email:
Union or non-union?
If union, SAG #:
Height:
Weight:
Shirt size:
Pant size:
Shoe size:
Jacket or Dress size:
Do you have a car?
If so: Make & model:
Year:
Color:
Have you done precision driving? (if so, please submit your resume)
Please be sure to attach a recent photo of yourself.

What will you buy?

My source who is working with the owner of the new convenience store coming to Fairfax Village has asked me to gather information from the community. The owners really want this to be a successful neighborhood-serving convenience store. They want to be sure they stock the store with items they can sell.

Please leave a comment or email me (vod2@cornell.edu) by August 11th with your suggested items. Think about those items that you always need, but never feel like driving to the grocery store to pick up.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

HCCA Meeting Saturday

This month's Hillcrest Community Civic Association meeting will feature Craig Muckle, Public Affairs Manager for Safeway. Please come with your concerns and suggestions to make the Safeway on Alabama Ave SE better. Personally, Miss V would like to see better produce, cleaner aisles, and bike racks.

HCCA Monthly Meeting
Saturday August 7, 2010
10:00 AM - Noon
Hillcrest Recreation Center
3100 Denver St SE

To view the event on FB, click here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Be my ANC Commissioner

Today is the day to pick up petitions to run for Advisory Neighborhood Commission. To qualify all you need is 25 signatures from your single member district. The petitions are due on September 3, 2010. For more information about becoming an ANC, We Love DC put together a handy guide. Congress Heights on the Rise has offered her blog to ANC Challengers who want to be profiled.

Word on the street is ANC 7B needs to replace three of the current commissioners. I can't speak for the entire ANC, but ANC 7B06 needs a new commissioner. My ideal commissioner would:
  • Communicate with the community by any means necessary. It could be email, twitter, blog, newsletter, messenger pigeon, skywrite, and/or whatever. Many people cannot attend every ANC meeting, but their opinions still matter and they still need to be informed.
  • Be able to think about issues from different perspectives. The reality is our demographics are diverse, which means our needs are diverse. We need a leader who can take the diverse needs of the community into consideration when making a decision.
  • Attend ANC, HCCA, and Fairfax Village Community Association Meetings to gather feedback from the community.
Miss V isn't asking for a lot. If you are serious about taking on the position, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday Stew: What's Cooking

NEW ITEM
Vacant Lot on 38th -
Technically this is an open item, but there is a new spin. I initially blogged about the vacant lot on 38th Street last year. I thought I was getting somewhere with Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. However, it's a year later and that lot has only gotten worse with overgrown vegetation and the construction fence is still in the public space. I've been bounced back and forth between DCRA and Department of Public Works. Miss V is wonder if we could just do a guerrilla garden there. Get everyone in Fairfax Village and the homes next door. We can clean it out ourselves and plant some flowers. Then paint the foundation that remains there. "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is for permission."

OPEN ITEMS
Fairfax Village Shopping Center - I almost don't even feel like talking about this stupid shopping center anymore. My neighbor and I met with Councilmember K. Brown on Sunday to talk about out issues with the center. CM Brown said he's going to work on bypassing the property manager to get in touch with the owners. Some good news is we are getting a new convenience store where Village Pantry Deli was located. It should be open early September. I told my source to encourage the new owner to go to Cornercopia located near the Navy Yard to get some ideas of how a mini-mart can be nice.

Street Repair - I'm still off-roading on my block. My neighbor is almost done collecting signatures for the petition for speed humps. There are only a few people who don't want them.

3970 Pennsylvania Ave SE - No update.

Public-Private Partnership Possible - A meeting has been scheduled between the public agency and the Community Association Board. Hopefully this will be the first of many meetings that leads to a partnership. Yes, I realize I'm being vague.

CLOSED ITEMS
None at this time.

National Night Out in the Village




Tuesday, August 3, 2010

DDOT magic tricks

DDOT released a statement yesterday that the construction of Pennsylvania Ave SE Great Streets from 27th to Branch Ave SE will be accelerated. By how much you ask? Try 1 year and 2 months. Abracadabra!!! Presto chango. Personally, Miss V looks forward to being able to drive on Penn Ave again without having to dodge steel plates in the road. However, this acceleration has been met with some skepticism on the part of residents. One resident questioned via the listserv if we are going to be short changed medians, sidewalks, and the streetscaping we were promised in order to advance the timeline. FYI, as of this blog post DDOT hadn't responded to that resident on the listserv.

Maybe Miss V is too trusting, but it seems possible that we will get everything we were promised in the final drawings under this new schedule. The previous construction hours were 9:30 - 3:30 Monday through Saturday. That's 6 hours a day, 6 days a week or 36 working hours. However, it takes the crew about an hour to setup construction for the day (cones, signs, remove steel plates) and an hour to put the street back (put down steel plates, remove cones and signs). So really they were only doing about 25 hours per week of construction.

The new hours will be 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, 7 days a week. That comes out to 15 hours per day (minus 2 hours for setup/breakdown) or 91 working hours a week (13 hours times 7 days). That gives them a little over 3.5 times the amount of working hours each week.

Of course this new construction schedule may alter my Condo Boards plans to repave our parking lot in September. We may have to push it back until after the construction is complete so we don't exacerbate the parking problems. The one good thing about all the construction is that it has sent all the Maryland drivers elsewhere.

The press release is below.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Night Out in the Village - August 3rd

The Fairfax Village Community Association will be hosting an annual BBQ for National Night Our Against Crime.

Tuesday August 3, 2010
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Grassy area near the Condo Office
(3909A Pennsylvania Ave SE)

This year there will be no separate event at the Lutheran Church, so the Hillcrest residents can choose to come to Fairfax Village or go to the BBQ in Naylor Gardens.

A chit chat with Gray

Mayoral Candidate Vince Gray invited bloggers for Round 2 of an "exclusive" discussion. In attendance was We Love DC, The Hill is Home, Georgetown Dish, and of course Life in the Village. We pretty much stayed within the core themes of Education, Jobs, and Economic Development with a sprinkle of Statehood. There is no need for me to regurgitate what's on Gray's website. However, I will admit that my recap is slanted toward East of the River (it is what it is) and in no way does it capture the entire conversation.

Education
Chairman Gray provided an overview of his education plan. In Miss V's opinion fixing the education system is important. However, many of the children of Wards 7 and 8 are going home to dysfunction. Most of our children are being raised by a parent (not parents) and/or a grandparent. I asked Gray how do we being to fix our families. Gray so eloquently stated "sometimes education is the symptom and not the problem". His plan would be to put health and human services and mental health workers in the schools. In addition, he would put non-profits that provide services to these families in the schools.

He also mentioned that most of the special education students live in zip codes 20019, 20020, and 20032 (all East of the River). They are in special education for many reason, such as learning disabilities, mental problems, and behavioral issue. He suspects that addressing the dysfunction in some of these kids lives would move some of these kids out of the special education classification.

Jobs/Economic Development
Gray and his team will be rolling out an economic development plan later this week. Some of the things in the plan are reforming the Department of Employment Services and enforcing the first source agreement where 51% of new hires need to be from DC if a contractor wants to do business with the city. We Love DC pointed out all the roadblocks in place that discourage DC residents from applying for job, such as showing several forms of ID.

Miss V took this time to make a rant on how unfriendly DC is to small business. My small business (www.nspiregreen.com) is my bread and butter. I cannot begin to tell you the hoops and hurdles DC puts its small businesses through. Not to mention the amount of taxes imposed. Chairman Gray pointed out that he introduced the legislation that raised the exemption for personal property taxes that business have to pay from $50k to $225K. As someone who has filed that tax form, I could have jumped across the table and kissed him.

It was noted that DC ranks LAST of all the states in being small business friendly. Gray said what needs to happen is "blow up the system and start over again". I couldn't agree more.

More Economic Development
In Wards 7 and 8 we face two challenges related to economic development. 1) overcoming how the outside world views us and 2) overcoming our own preconceived notions and assumptions. Gray stated that there are two phenomenon happening East of the River: 1) Is this the beginning of the end? and 2) Are we getting second class? When people see change they aren't sure what that change means. He stated that residents need to stay the course and more importantly there needs to be LEADERSHIP on the part of the City to ensure people aren't displaced.

More Specific Ward 7 Questions
One of my blog readers requested a status update on the lease for the DMV to stay at the Penn-Branch Shopping Center. Gray stated that the Mayor hasn't signed it yet. (Me thinks someone is stalling for political reasons... sign it already). Another requested an update on keeping a MPD Sixth District substation in the southern part of the Ward. Gray mentioned MPD was exploring Penn Branch Shopping Center as an option. Given Gray lives further south than me, I can't imagine his administration would leave the southern part of 6D without a substation.

Conclusion
All-in-all, the discussion gave me a better feeling about Gray. I have been undecided for several reasons, but I think it's time to give Gray a second look.