ANC5C01 report to BACA, May 2011

The following is a recap of activities in Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5C generally, and our Single Member District (SMD) ANC5C01 in particular, since April 4, 2011:

ANC 5C APRIL MEETING

The last meeting of the ANC took place on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at the Bennett Career Institute near Catholic University. Nine of the eleven commissioners of ANC5C were present (the seat for ANC5C08 remains vacant and two commissioners had excused absences).

MPD Lt. Kervin Johnson presented Commissioner Gigi Ransom (ANC5C12) with a special award for being named by the Fourth District as ACitizen of the Year@ in 2010 for her work in the community. Lt. Johnson also reported a 13% decrease in overall crime and a 16% decrease in violent crime citywide from last year’s figures year to date. Motions regarding procedures for reimbursement of expenses incurred by commissioners on behalf of the ANC were deferred until next month. The commission did approve motions to 1) set aside $2,500 to fund mailing costs associated with the special election to fill the vacancy in Single Member District 5C08, 2) submit a letter in opposition to the action of the Department of Public Works in terminating employees for budget reduction, 3) stage an ANC5C Fourth of July Fun Festival on the parking lot of McKinley Technology High School, and 4) establish procedures to govern the special election in 5C08. Candidates to fill the vacancy in 5C08, Heather Deutch, a seven year resident, and Marshall Phillips, who previously represented 5C08 for more than 9 terms, introduced themselves and gave three minute campaign speeches.

The Unified Structural Plan for the operation of ANC5C standing committees, introduced by me, was approved by an 8 to 1 vote. Following that, members of the community were given the opportunity to express their concerns on a variety of issues. Commissioner Tim Clark then announced that the 1st Annual Metropolitan Branch Trail 5K Run/Walk will take place on Saturday, May 14, 2011, starting at 8:00 am at 4th and S Streets, N.E. Registration is free for children under age 18 and $25 for adults registering by May 12th, $35 for all participants registering on race day.

Tania Jackson gave an update on the McMillan Reservoir project. Commissioner James Fournier (5C07), in whose SMD the project is located, announced that he will have an SMD meeting to discuss those plans. Maybelle Bennett spoke about Howard University’s plan to do major renovations and redevelopment of the campus, part of which borders ANC5C.

The final action item was the commission’s vote, 8 to 1, to write a letter in support of the petition of Rustik Tavern, at 1st and T Streets, N.W., for a public space permit to open an outside patio and 5 to 3, to include in that letter a statement of disapproval of ABRA’s stipulation that the proprietor must prohibit smoking on the outside patio.

APRIL 13, 2011 MEETING WITH ECUMENICAL COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES

On Wednesday, April 13th, I attended an afternoon meeting at St. Martin’s Church, North Capitol and T Streets, N.W., with members of the local ecumenical counsel, representatives of some of the area’s social services agencies and several community representatives, including Commissioners Sylvia Pinkney (ANC5C02) and Hugh Youngblood (ANC5C03). Rev. Terry D. Streeter, pastor of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, opened the meeting. The meeting host, Father Michael Kelly of St. Martin=s, commented that we often don=t know our neighbors and as a result, we talk about each other but not to each other. That, he stated, is why we are having this and future meetings. Lonna Hooks of North Capitol Main Street explained that for businesses to get government grants, they have to have clean hands; i.e., no unresolved citations, outstanding fines or unpaid taxes. She added that 98% of our local businesses don=t even have a web presence.

S.O.M.E. Program Director Don Dixon noted that So Others May Eat just celebrated 40 years. He emphasized that SOME=s plan is to move its constituents from substance abuse, to rehab, to transitional housing to affordable housing. The organization employs a worker whose job is to monitor the area five days a week to make sure there is no loitering and to see that cleanup crews pick up trash. Father Harris said that his church serves 200 meals every other Saturday but makes it clear to patrons that if they hang around and drop trash in the neighborhood, the feeding program will be in jeopardy. Marilyn Kresky-Wolf spoke of the work of Open Arms, Inc. Commissioner Pinkney pointed out that juvenile crime is a big problem because youth have nothing to do with their time. One idea was floated that we organize a basketball tournament and use the St. Martin’s gym. Father Harris suggested adding a listing of the various church=s youth program to the NCMS directory. He pointed out that the Ecumenical Counsel pays for children to go to a summer camp in North Carolina. It was requested that we bring the United Planning Organization to the table and I volunteered to make that contact and did so immediately after the meeting. Anita Bonds contributed that we can’t just train kids for jobs they don’t have a reasonable chance of getting. Lonna Hooks echoed that sentiment and added that we have to train people to be technologically efficient.

JUVENILE CRIME ROUNDTABLE

On the evening of April 13th, I attended a juvenile crime roundtable at the Fifth District police precinct. A few additional members of B.A.C.A. were also in attendance. The meeting was hosted by Kathy Henderson, founder of Ward 5 Court Watch, an organization created to monitor court decisions regarding the disposition of criminal cases in D.C. The gist of the meeting was that juvenile crime is on the rise and that much of it is fueled by long running feuds, or “beefs,” between rival groups of youths. Most juvenile offenders, statistics show, are children of former juvenile offenders and current adult offenders and substance abusers.

Neil Stanley, Interim Director of D.C. Youth Rehabilitation Services said that his top priority is public safety. He said he has 150 kids released into the community on electronic monitoring and noted that some kids ask for monitors because it gives them a way out when their friends apply peer pressure to get them to go with them to engage in illegal activity. He added that while laws have changed to make sharing of information about juveniles between agencies easier, there are still difficult barriers to overcome. MPD 5D Captain Mark Carter stated that juvenile offenders are very tech savvy, using technology to avoid capture. He also added that D.C. is a major center for trafficking of juveniles, girls and boys, and that some of the predators are juveniles themselves.

Trina Stewart, of CSOSA (Court Services and Offender Support Agency) is responsible for monitoring juvenile releasees. She said that she welcomes community feedback and asked that if we as citizens see juveniles who may be on release engaged in suspect behavior, that we call her at (202) 442-1855 or e-mail her at trian.stewart@csosa.gov. Neil Stanley also gave his contact information as (202) 727-0772 or (202) 727-1677 and neil.stanley@dc.gov.

CITY COUNCIL REDISTRICTING HEARING

On the morning of April 27, 2011, I attended a hearing in Council Chambers of the City Council=s Ward Redistricting Committee. Present were Committee Co-Chairs Michael Brown and Jack Evans, Committee Member Phil Mendelson and additional Councilmembers Marion Barry and Muriel Bowser. Mr. Evans opened the hearing by explaining that under federal law, the Council is required to make adjustments in Ward boundaries consistent with the latest census data. Each ward should have roughly the same population, with a maximum 5% variance. Based on the 2010 census data, Ward 2 has too many residents and Wards 7 and 8 have too few. A representative of Greater Greater Washington testified that his organization has been conducting an on line game whereby citizens get to realign the wards based on their individual preferences. The game is still active and can be accessed by going to http://redistricting.greatergreaterwashington.org.

Several groups of citizens testified, many asking that their communities not be moved across ward lines, others asking that precincts of adjacent wards be moved into their wards. Ms. Bowser spoke in favor of leaving Ward 4 as it is, since it is very close to the ideal size. Mr. Barry, on the other hand, advocated repeatedly for moving one precinct, Precinct 131, now located along the Southeast Waterfront from Ward 6 to Ward 8, arguing that so doing would raise Ward 8’s population to an acceptable level and increase racial diversity in his ward at the same time.

ADVISORY CABINET

Saturday, April 30th, we held the third meeting of the newly formed Advisory Cabinet of ANC 5C 01 at the home of Aubrey & Lisa Vaughan. Outstanding issues were reviewed and action plans were decided on with regard to the stalled renovation of the 1st Street and Florida Avenue Park and the ongoing violations of liquor store voluntary agreements.

ANC 5C ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

The Economic Development Committee of ANC5C met twice in April. The first meeting, on April 9th at the Summit at St. Martin=s, was an organizing meeting. We talked generally about the committee=s mission and created four subcommittees, 1) Smart Growth & Living Communities, led by Commissioner Clark, 2) Zoning and Planned Unit Developments, led by Commissioner Pinkney, 3) ABRA (Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration) Affairs, led by Aubrey Vaughan and 4) Small Area Plans, which I will lead. The second meeting took place at the same location on April 30th, when members in attendance viewed the movie AWal-Mart-The High Cost of Low Price@ in anticipation of the public viewing of the film on Saturday, May 7th, 10:00 am, at McKinley Technology High School. Doors will open at 9:30 am. Space is limited so no one will be admitted after 10:15.

WRAP-UP

The next meeting of ANC5C is scheduled for 7 pm on Tuesday, May 17th, at the View at Edgewood Terrace, 635 Edgewood St., N.E. As always, B.A.C.A. members are encouraged to attend.

The special election to fill the vacancy in ANC5C08 will take place during the meeting for residents of that Single Member District.

That’s my report.

Bradley A. Thomas
(202) 670-0151
5C01@anc.dc.gov


Question, comment, or suggestion?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s