Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My 2 cents on Proposed Ward 7 ANC Redistricting Plan

So the hearing for the ANC redistricting was today. For the DC politics junkies, the bill is B19-528: ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSIONS BOUNDARIES ACT OF 2011.

Ms V thought the process was a boondoggle from the beginning.   Nonetheless, as a resident of Ward 7, I have a right to voice my opinion.  I reviewed the report and the map.  Below is what I submitted to the Subcommittee on Redistricting.

I am submitting written testimony as a public witness.

I reside in the current ANC 7B06. I was not part of the Ward 7 ANC Redistricting Task Force, but I expressed my opinions throughout the process with my ANC Commissioner. My testimony today will focus on the parts of the plan that I support and do not support, in addition to the process itself.

SUPPORT: Pennsylvania Ave Corridor in ANC 7BThe Pennsylvania Ave SE Corridor is currently being transformed into a “Great Street”. Hopefully over the next several years the corridor will have new development to compliment the new streetscape improvements. I support the corridor being in one commission versus the current split between three commissions. This will ensure consistent and streamlined decision-making throughout the corridor.

OPPOSE: Non-compliance with Subcommittee GuidelinesThe ANC Redistricting Procedures issued by the Subcommittee on Redistricting on June 21, 2011, explicitly state the ideal ANC size is 2000 residents, with a min and max of 1900 and 2100. While there are several SMDs in Ward 7 that do not conform to the tolerance, there are 8 SMDs that are substantially outside of the 5% tolerance.

7B02 – 2233 (+11.7%)
7F02 – 2224 (+11%)
7F04 – 1307 (-34.7%)
7F05 – 2235 (+11.7%)
7F06 – 2247 (+12%)
7D01 – 1444 (-27.8%)
7D02 – 2440 (+22%)
7D03 – 1704 (-14.8%) 
The report provides no detail to justify for why these SMDs should be granted exemption from the 5% tolerance. Absent any sound justification, these SMDs need to be modified to conform to the law. 
OPPOSE: Renaming 7A to 7FI oppose the renaming of 7A to 7F. There was no justification for this change provided in the final report prepared by the Ward 7 ANC Redistricting Task Force. If there were difficulties under the name 7A, then work to rebuild the ANC and/or elected better commissioners. A name change will not repair a reputation. Absent a logical justification the ANC should remain 7A.

CONCERNS: Provision of Maps
I read through the report upon its release. However, it was difficult to visualize some of the boundaries since draft maps were not provided with the report. Even maps hand drawn in marker would be more acceptable than receiving nothing. Last night around 11:30pm I was provided a link to the ANC maps prepared by Office of Planning from a resident in Ward 5. It is very unsettling that this is the first map that Ward 7 has seen of the proposed boundaries.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony for inclusion in the public record. I’m available for any clarification and discussions.

Proposed Ward 7 ANC Boundaries

Well well... Ms V was provided the proposed Ward 7 ANC Redistricting Boundaries map from a Ward 5 resident around 11:45pm on Monday November 28, 2011.  This is the first map I've seen of the boundaries.  I won't be there in person, but I'll be submitting written testimony. I'm glad this became available as I was finalizing my written testimony for the hearing tomorrow.

In case you are wondering about the origin of this little nugget, click here for all the ANC maps.

It's called capitalism

Capitalism has its positives and negatives.  One of the positives of capitalism is it promotes competition.  Safeway at Good Hope Marketplace is now whining because of the prospects of a Walmart at Skyland Shopping Center across the street would violate a covenant that prevents competitors.  While I'm not jumping for joy at Walmart, the idea that Safeway would actually have to improve has me grinning like the Grinch that Stole Christmas.

Washington Post's Nikita Stewart has an article detailing the complications of the covenant in the process moving forward.  Look at this gem from Craig Muckle:
“We want to be cooperative, but there is a reason that the covenant is in place to protect our interests,” said Craig Muckle, Safeway’s manager of public affairs and government relations.

The Hillcrest Community Civic Association and ANC 7B have had a interesting tug-o-war with the Safeway for the last few years.  Mr. Muckle came to the civic association last August for a dog and pony show. To their credit, bike racks were added.  However, many of the other issues still remain.   If Safeway wants to protect their interests, they can start by implementing the things they promised the community last year.

I hope as the Gray Administration works out whatever deal with Safeway, it includes them cleaning up their act across the entire city.  If I were Mayor (shudder the thought) I'd tell Safeway, "Tough cookies.  If you don't want to lose business, then upgrade the quality of the service you provide". But... that's why I'm not the Mayor.

And speaking of Safeway, Winslow Woodland who is leading the efforts to improve the Good Hope Marketplace location prepared this video of the trash outside of Safeway.  One of the more appalling things is the amount of trash in the storm drains.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving dear neighbors.... I wish you all a safe, happy and yummy holiday.

I'll see everyone at yoga on Monday and Zumba on Tuesday at the Hillcrest Recreation Center to work off some of the guilt.  LOL.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

STEM Night at Anne Beers ES

STEM Night 
Anne Beers Elementary School
3600 Alabama Ave SE
Thursday-December 8, 2011
THEME: Medicine-Health-Wellness

Come and Celebrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the Classroom showcasing
ALL GRADES Pre-School-Grade Five.  See what your child has learned about.

Medicine-Health and Wellness.
Observe and interact with investigations about the
Human Body Chemistry
Healthy Eating Strategies
Fitness and Wellness Programs
Blood Pressure Screenings
Talk privately with Physicians and Medical Consultants.

Wal-Mart WAY Foundation
National Children's Museum Without Walls
Forensic Investigations
Museum in a Box
Children's National Medical Center
Geography Jeopardy
Scholastic Book Fair
Hillcrest Community Civic Association
Anne Beers' PTA
Healthy Meals Cooking Demonstrations By
Chef Jucain Butler

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dog attacked on 3300 Erie St SE

Ms V sends her deepest sympathies to the Woodland family.  Their two dogs were viciously attacked on Thursday afternoon.  One dog died and the other sustained serious injuries.

It was a horrible experience when my pups were attacked last year. One of my dogs had a minor bite, but since it was that dog's second bite it was put to sleep.   It was a case were a dog became aggressive because he didn't get the proper exercise for its breed.

If you aren't going to take the time to love and train a dog, please do the dog and the community a huge favor and don't get one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ward 7 ANC Redistricting

While other wards have seen the iterations of the proposed ANC redistricting boundaries, Ward 7 hasn't been afforded that opportunity.  Sure I could've attended the meetings, but with all the other blast emails we get on the listserv, the information just as easily could've been shared to those of us that didn't attend.  I requested an electronic copy, to which I'm being mailed a hardcopy.  Shout out to ANC7D01 for getting a hardcopy and scanning it for the masses.

In looking at the report, I'm not sure why we couldn't get it electronically in the first place.  But that's neither here nor there, since we have it now.... Moving on...

It looks like ANC 7B will have almost the entire Pennsylvania Ave corridor with the exception of 1 block face from 40th to Southern Ave SE. ANC 7B06 (Fairfax Village + a little extra) maintains its boundary as far as I can tell.  The report doesn't include any maps.

Apparently 7A is changing their name to 7F.  There was no rationale given.  *raises brow*.  I've heard the name change is over some nonsense.  But I wasn't there, so who am I to judge. *side eye*

Anywho.... Ms V has provided the report below and here is the information on the hearing
The Subcommittee on Redistricting will be holding a hearing on B19-528, the “Advisory Neighborhood Commissions Boundaries Act of 2011” on Tuesday, November 29 at 10 a.m. in the Council Chambers. If you are interested in testifying at the hearing, please contact Carol Sadler at (202) 724-8198 or csadler@dccouncil.us, and provide your name and organizational affiliation, by 5 p.m. on Monday, November 28, 2011. Witnesses should bring 20 copies of their written testimony to the hearing.
UPDATE 8:18pm: Report from CM Alexander's Office.
W7ANCRedistrictingTaskForceReport FINAL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Urban Waterways & Waterfront Parks

The people have spoken

In my two years as Condo president of Fairfax Village 4 (there are nine villages total), there have been tremendous changes.  We've switched financial management companies, hired a property management company, took back management of the parking lot, and invested in capital improvements just to name a few.  This fall we did exterior painting.  Never did I imagine a paint color would start a civil war.

Fairfax Village 4 has 3 clusters of buildings of which 4 buildings are painted brick.  In the Fort Davis St cluster we changed one of the buildings from a dingy gray to white.  There is one more painted building on Fort Davis that we kept the same yellow color.  On Pennsylvania Ave we kept one building gray, however,  painting 3907 Pennsylvania Ave didn't go as smoothly.

The building was originally a dark blue.  There was a a color mix up and the painters started painting the building mango (as shown in the photo).  Long story short (yes there is more to the story) the color mix up started a debate on whether to keep the building blue as it has been for the last 30 years or embrace change.  Ms V didn't care about building colors, I just wanted the building painted so we can move on to other projects.

The homeowners in that cluster worked it out amongst themselves, chose a color, and mailed me a signed petition. The end result.... homeowners are ready for a change.  I have to admit the lighter color building stands out better at night.

Now that this is behind us, on to replacing rotten wood around the village.  A woman's work is never done.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Art bringing new life

Murals DC, New Vision from Words Beats & Life on Vimeo.

Here's a great video of the new mural on the Bread for the City building on Good Hope Road.  I see this on my way to work, so I wanted to share.  I'd like to see more art around the neighborhoods.

Random information: My friend from college is found of Words, Beats & Life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saying goodbye

Ms V knew the day would come with Officer LaFrance, Fairfax Village Full Stride Officer, would be leaving us.  Officer LaFrance was an officer who could patrol by foot, bike and car.  He had the personality to work with the community, yet toughness to command respect from the troublemakers. November 19th will be his last day with MPD then he'll be moving on to a Federal job.   He'll be missed.

The Tuesday Community Dinner at Thai Orchid will be our opportunity to say goodbye to one of our favorite officers.

Community Dinner
November 8, 2011, 7-8:30PM
Thai Orchid's Kitchen
2314 Pennsylvania Ave SE

$11/per person for buffet (does NOT include drinks, tax or tip)

Come on out to chat with old neighbors and meet some new ones!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The mystery of 38th Street SE continues

If you've been following my blog you know that 2250 38th Street (vacant lot on 38th between Suitland Road and W St SE) has been the bane of my community for the last four years.  If you want to get caught up on the history it was discussed June 2009, July 2009, August 2009, Wednesday Stews, and March 2011. We had a small victory in March when DPW came out to clean it up.  And even August 2011.

So here it is November 1, 2011 and I'm still complaining about this property.  DDOT released a new tool that allows you to find public space permits throughout the city.  Naturally I plugged in 2250 38th Street SE into the tool to see if they have a permit to have their construction fence along the edge of the sidewalk.  There is no permit, but also not sure they need one.

I decided to look in DCRA's permit system to see if they still had a building permit.  The permit expired in January 2010.  The owner is listed as IDS DC Inc with an address of 30195 Holts Landing Road, Dagsboro, DE 19939.  According to the IDS DC Inc website, the home was scheduled for completion Spring 2011 (and we know that didn't happen).  DCRA tweeted to me that IDS DC Inc had their business registration revoked in DC.

I did a google search the Delaware address and found 30195 Holts Landing Road is a single family residential house that was sold in a tax sell in December 2010.  When I looked up the information in the Sussex County, DE tax record, I found a new set of owners.

Update: According to the DC OTR database the owners are current on their property taxes for the property.

In summary, the property with a half build structure is owned by a non-existent company registered to an address that has new owners.

Now I'm left wondering:

  • Who the heck owns the property?
  • Are they current on their property taxes?
  • What are the options for the community?

Basically, Ms V wants the construction fence sitting along the sidewalk removed, demolition of the foundation (i.e. return back to natural state), the property to stay trash free, the shrubbery to be maintained so it doesn't block the sidewalk, and world peace.  This isn't too much to ask for, right?

Let it FLOW

Ms. V is on the Environmental Art Committee for the Tubman-Mahan Gallery at the Center for Green Urbanism... (whew that was a mouthful). Join us on Saturday for showing of the film F.L.O.W. as part of the ReCreate H2O exhibit.

Ms V has the Hillcrest Civic Association meeting, but I'll try to attend.

Saturday 11/5, 11am-2pm
Center for Green Urbanism
3839 Benning Road NE
We will be watching the film F.L.O.W. - For the Love of Water which is about the World Water Crisis, and then having a presentation from DC Water by Environmental Planner, Dr. Mohsin Siddique talking about water projects in the District and clean water. There will also be a tap vs. bottled water test and a discussion! Hope you can make it out! Please advertise across your blogs as well!