Friday, October 3, 2008

It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A beautiful day for a neighbor./Would you be mine?/Could you be mine?

If we started all ANC meetings like Mr. Rogers started his shows, wouldn't Logan Circle be a happier if more odd place? Maybe not. Moving on to local non partisan politics . . . the monthly ANC 2F meeting was on Wednesday.

A somewhat unusual twist to the meeting: a US State Department delegation of Latin American community leaders was in attendance for the first portion of the meeting. In honor of their visit we had some a few snacks set up in the Washington room. Perhaps it's my imagination, but it seems to me that all present were much perkier after munching — except for Commissioner Reed; his affect is pretty reliable.

Jungle Jack Evans was in attendance and took quite a number of questions from the audience. I'll get back to that after an abbreviated run-down of other Logan Circle events of late.

Important stuff: The DC government has a $10 million pool of money set aside for the Neighborhood Investment Fund (NIF). Any Logan non profit can apply for a chunk of this money as long as they use it toward meeting community-defined goals for our neighborhood such as rent stabilization or encouraging local business. If you are at all connected to a non profit that targets the area from U Street to Massachusetts Avenue between 9th and 15th Streets go to and click on the neighborhood planning link. The public comment period has been extended, but the Office of Planning intends to cut it off at a yet-to-be-defined date "soon."

Soon-to-retire Mike Smith shared that the number of robberies in our PSA has dropped quite a bit, particularly when compared to the neighboring PSAs.

Officer Smith's retirement party will be on November 8th, but we may see him deliver the crime report at our monthly meetings until he permanently relocates.

From the executive office of the Mayor: Not much news. However, there will be a temporary dog park on the grounds of Shaw Junior High School opening in the next few (6?) weeks.

DDOT submitted the final 14th Street Streetscape plan to the ANC. There's one copy floating around amongst the commissioners, so email your SMD rep. if you want to get your hands on it. If you were someone who got all fired up about the new plans for 14th Street, you will just have to hurry up and wait to see changes. After the very involved process of soliciting public input, the design phase will be delayed until 2011 and the streetscaping may not begin until 2012 because of DDOT budgeting priorities. In the mean time, private developers starting new projects on 14th will be required to implement some of the agreed-upon changes such as sidewalk improvements.

So, on to our visit from Jack Evans. I didn't happen to catch an email from ANC 2F or Evans about the meeting agenda, so I sauntered in late and was surprised to see him at the meeting. I haven't been to every ANC meeting in the past year, but I don't recall the Council member showing up at any time in the past 16 months. To his credit, Evans did say that he would be back to visit us in the coming months.

ANC 2Fers had a polite Q&A with Mr. Evans. He warned that DC budget cuts are coming, which may lead to hiring freezes and program limitations. He did say that our largest expenditures this year have been healthcare and education, both of which would be very unpopular to cut.

With regard to the Franklin School Shelter, Jack Evans reported that all of the former residents have indeed been housed elsewhere. The Mayor certified this claim on Wednesday as did Council Member Tommy Wells, Chair of the Committee on Human Services. The Park Service will now be cleaning the park regularly, something they had refused to do as long as the shelter was open. A request for quote will be sent to developers soon seeking proposals for redevelopment. As for Evans's preferences, he would like to see "something with life" fill the space rather than just a new office building.

Dustin Cole rocks. He takes very seriously his role as commissioner and his responsibility to his neighbors. As such, he is vigorously pursuing improvements to Horizon House. Upset about conditions in this housing complex that serves low income elderly and disabled residents, he has contacted the DC government, the new chair of the residents' board, and the contracted management company who runs the building for DC Housing Authority. Cole vows to keep contacting the management company and requesting enforcement action from DCHA until he receives a construction budget statement and detailed renovation plans. Of current concern is that residents are living with severe mold growth in public areas, bedbug infestations, and other damage and filth. I'm so excited to see a new commissioner pursuing this problem for the neighborhood good though it's not a normal monthly meeting agenda item.

I have one last thought on the meeting. Why must our ANC meetings cling unwaveringly to Robert's Rules of Order no matter how minor the point of discussion? For example, could we not just adjorn the meeting having reached the end of the agenda? It's really funny to me to see commissioner Reed move to adjorn, someone else second the motion, and the commission agree before the gavel comes down on our monthly gatherings.


Anonymous said...

thanks for that tidbit about Franklin! was wondering how the closing turned out as there was plenty of media coverage up until the shelter closed. then, nada, zilch, zippo, bupkis.

the blogosphere comes through!

Mr. Other Upper NW said...

It's interesting, pqres, because you would think that the successful placement of all Franklin Shelter residents into new housing/shelters would have been something the mayor's office would be trumpeting, particularly in light of the protests that ensued upon the closing ofthe shelter. That this piece of news leaked out at a neighborhood meeting is a bit odd--not that we have any reasons to doubt it.

Relocating teh Franklin resident sis a good thing. Not only was the Shelter in deplorable condition, but Franklin Square park was as well. This presents the city with the opportunity to place the Franklin shelter residents into a better environment while simultaneously presenting an opportunity to clean up the park and redevelop the Franklin School into something more befitting its location.

Anonymous said...

Certain homeless advocates become zealots. They'd convert any building they could to the cause of warehousing homeless, in the misguided belief that this is best for them. Clearly, it's not. Nor is warehousing poor in projects. We need to have mixed income communities.

IMGoph said...

jack was at the 2C meeting earlier in the night...told everyone that he'd try to attend at least once a quarter (we'll see). he also mentioned that it had probably been years since he'd attended a 2C meeting...