Sunday, December 31, 2006

Washington Post-- Missing the Mark

This mornings Washington Post Outlook section has done their best to provide new mayor, Adrian Fenty with some unsolicited advice. The advice runs the gamut from continuing grass roots efforts to improve services to improving our libraries. The Marc Fisher piece discusses the most important things for the mayor. His biracial heritage, and endless comparisons to the inept 'Mayor for Life' Marion Barry and innefectual Sharon Pratt Kelly. I am really not that concerned as to whether or not Mayor Willams considers Fenty a good politican.

Fisher does get points for pointing out the importance of development in the district including the Anacostia and Potomac riverfront projects, as well as the inherited baseball stadium development. Like them or not, they are underway, and need to be done correctly and on time. Each of these are an opportunity to revitalize, and create gems in the capital city.

The article mentions the formidible bureacratic barriers Fenty faces in pushing any agenda. That being said, the mayor needs to pick his fights wisely. The remainder of the outlook section shows letters from citizens on what their priorities are. Can you guess what they are? From where I sit the top three are; Schools, fighting crime, and fighting crime. But alas, the good old washington post, a bastion of supposed liberalism has highlighted these pressing issues; Gay Rights, Library revitalization, abandoned buildings in logan circle, banning of reversible lanes in Cleveland Park, Parking in Tacoma and ticketing for litter.

Now, i am not saying that these items do not have merit. They do, and each need to be addressed, but if any of you in Eckington, Bloomingdale, Shaw and LeDroit had a few minutes with the mayor, would they be your top priority? How about safe drinking water, repairing WASA sewers so Bloomingdale doesnt flood? How about cleaning out the DC bureaucracy? How about taking the reigns of the school board? How about giving police and the emergency call center the resources and leadership to be effective so we feel safe? How about that for a start?

One final thought Adrian, dont get so caught up in the weeds that you cant see the big picture.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yellow Line Extension--Sorta

Yellow line service will be extended to Ft. Totten during non-peak times. see more here

Can H St become a music Mecca?

Check this article about the new NE Music Scene.

Washington's night life continued its shift away from the Adams Morgan-Dupont-Georgetown axis, and nowhere was this more evident than on H Street NE, where the arrival of several new bars had club hoppers trying to figure out the easiest way to get to 15th and H streets.

Nightlife impresario Joe Englert opened three more bars on the strip this year, following the success he has had with the low-key Argonaut tavern. The Rock and Roll Hotel is the gem of the bunch, a 400-person venue that fits the bigger-than-DC9-but-smaller-than-the-Black-Cat hole on D.C.'s live-music circuit. Many of the city's better rock bands took the stage there this year, including Shortstack, the Hard Tomorrows and the Washington Social Club, though the club has also had packed and sweaty DJ nights hosted by Buzz's Scott Henry, DJ Spooky, the Rapture's Matty Safer and such buzz bands as the Brazilian Girls and ¡Forward, Russia! Upstairs, "suites" strewn with vintage furniture are perfect for lounging.

Down the block, the Palace of Wonders has walls lined with dime-store freaks (preserved eight-legged goats, the Ringling Bros.' "unicorn," a life-size wax model of the Elephant Man) and a calendar filled with burlesque dancers, sword swallowers, sideshow carnies and hot-dog-eating contests. Neighboring club the Red & the Black has a more intimate feel, since the concert room can hold only about 100 people, but it has been host to interesting residencies by local artists, including Luke Brindley.

More than any one bar, though, all the establishments that have arrived on H Street in the past two years have begun to find their footing, making the area a true weekend destination. (The shuttle service to Union Station on weekends is a great help but needs to expand.) A few more places are set to open, and although the neighborhood can be sketchy at night, its bars and theaters -- including the massive Atlas Performing Arts Center, which opened last month -- mean that H Street is a neighborhood that rewards exploration.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Neighborhood Spirit

I lifted this post from DC Blogs, and it really is a great post about the little things that mean so much. Check here.

The next logical question is, what are you or I doing to help people, and to make our neighborhoods in NE a better place? Now is as good a time as any to reevaluate our contributions to society.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back to the same old same old.

Looks like a homicide last night in Eckington near 3rd & U Streets NE

Man Dead in NE Shooting; Motive is Unknown
A man was shot and killed last night in Northeast Washington, D.C. police said. They said the shooting occurred in the 2000 block of Third Street NE. The victim's identity was not immediately available. Police reported no motive in the shooting.

for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival, officers located 29-year-old David E. Watkins, of the 2000 block of 3rd Street, NE, inside of a vehicle and suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body. He was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia and pronounced dead.

The case is under investigation by members of the MPDC's Violent Crimes Branch. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police at (202) 727-9099.

The department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.
Thanks to Scott Roberts and his bloomingdale listserve for the info

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December Surprise

There are many ways to look at this news. One is about progress, affordable housing and revitalization of a historic but somewhat run-down market. Another involves emminent domain and personal property rights of small business owners who have been in the same spot for decades. Another involves a well connected lame-duck council member and a part owner of the market. Another involves adding affordable housing project after project in the same wards of the city.

As you can see, i havent even made my own mind up on this issue. But this is huge news. I suggest you read up on the topic on Rebuilding Space and Frozen Tropics for the best background on this topic.




Tuesday, December 19, 2006
(202) 724-8067

Washington, DC, December 19, 2006 - The Council of the District of Columbia, unanimously, approved the "New Town at Capital City Market Revitalization Development and Public/Private Partnership Act". The legislation was introduced on July 11, 2006, by Councilmember Vincent B. Orange, Sr. (D-Ward 5). The act approves the initial conceptual plan for "New Town", which authorizes 1700 residential units with up to 40% for affordable housing at 50% to 120% of the Area Median Income ("AMI"). Forty percent (40%) of the workforce housing will be set-aside for teachers, policeman, firemen and other critical District of Columbia employees. The remaining 60% will be set-aside for District of Columbia residents who are first time home purchasers.

Retail and wholesale operations of the existing Farmer's Market will continue to exist in modern facilities in the northeast portion of the 24-acre site. New Town will consist of 570,000 square feet of new wholesale distribution. There will be 185,000 square feet of retail and food along with 141,000 square feet of restaurant and merchandising. The legislation will allow existing property owners or lessees to invest in New Town, become fee simple owners in the new retail and warehouse facility, as well as provide tax-free property exchanges.

The New Town legislation calls for a full-service YMCA building with a fitness center, day care center, teen center, swimming pool, indoor basketball courts, bowling alley, movie theaters, winter ice-skating rink, amphitheater and much, much more.

The plan may also include a health clinic and library.

Councilmember Orange stated, "This Ward 5 project will create in excess of 6,000 full-time jobs and add in excess of 45 million dollars, annually, in tax revenue to the DC Treasury. We offer this vision and design concept and invite your support and participation in creating "New Town at Capital City Market", which will bring growth, prosperity, and services to Northeast, D.C. and our City."

In summary, the legislation establishes a public/private partnership between the District of Columbia and New Town Development, LLC for the purpose of revitalizing and developing the Capital City Market into a mixed-use facility that will include: urban residential, retail, restaurants, entertainment, support facilities, office, government facilities, and workforce housing while maintaining the market's historic retail and wholesale functions on the existing site in Northeast, Washington, D.C.

Christmas Spirit

Just wanted to send a shout out to all of the people who volunteered to decorate the Lincoln Rd-NCAP park. The holiday lights look fantastic! It is amazing how a "small" thing like that can lift ones spirit, and change the look of the hood. Thanks also to the flea market store for providing the power.

Merry Christmas and Happy Channukah to all.

ECA Meeting-St Martin's Project

According to an observer of last nights ANC meeting, there seemed to be a switcheroo. The agenda listed the St. Martin’s items as a Community Concern, but the board members stated that because it is an action item, there would be no discussion or ‘audience participation.’

The developer of the proposed St. Martin's Project, Neal Drobenare presented the altered design of the project that included moving the convent to the SW corner of the lot. He explained the basics of how they plan to move the building.

To move the building, the developer will dig under the building, blow through all of the windows with the steal beams and ‘wrap the building.’ Then it will be lifted onto a vehicle that has tracks similar to that of a tank. It will then be moved and set onto it’s new foundation where it will be integrated into the larger structure, while keeping an appearance of being separate and only connected by a glass atrium.

Mr. Drobenare stated that the Historic Preservation folks agreed to the changes because they realized their case was dubious.

The ANC voted unanimously to support the design changes.

More later

Request for Info

The St. Martin's development issue was to be addressed last night at the ECA meeting. I am hoping to get a readout of the meeting from someone who was in attendance. If you were there, please drop me a line. THX.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Extended Absence

Apologies for shirking my posting responsibilities. Plan to get back into the swing of things this week, and well into the new year. Thanks to all of you who have read this post over the last year. Hard to believe I have been in this house for a year already.

Merry Christmas, Happy Channukah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Don't Drink the Water (Still)

Sep 29, 2006 -- The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) has detected high nitrite levels in the drinking water at six properties served by a privately owned 8รข€ water main along 8th Street NE that is not maintained by WASA. As a matter of caution, after consulting with the Department of Health, WASA is advising the occupants of these buildings near the intersection of 8th and Varnum streets N.E. not to drink the tap water. The affected properties include 4401 through 4415 8th Street NE and 831 and 832 Varnum Street NE. No other customers are impacted.

Full press release:

Commentary- This is at least the third time that we have seen high nitrate levels in water here in DC. While it appears from the press release that WASA is stepping up to fix a problem that "isnt theirs", the question remains as to who is responsible? Is it the city? Is it WASA, EPA? Who?

Frankly, I am fed up with the negligence that is tolorated by residents of the district with illegal levels of lead and nitrates in the water. I plan to do some more research and perhaps start writing some letters. In the meantime, it looks like I may have to call on Deer Park....

One Small Step for a Man.....

No this post isn't going to focus on the transcript of what the first words on the moon were. I you are interested read here .

The second half of summer and young fall have pointed out a difficulty associated with rowhouses; mice. I see evidence of them every day. But these mice seem to be super smart. Traps don't seem to work, glue traps have been occasionally effective, and the old standby dcon is laughed at by the furry friends. I even tried to make a d-con pancake for their eating pleasure that was also ignored.

But today, in a small victory, one of the ring leaders was snared in the glue trap. The young and feeble were the only ones to be caught previously by this small rectangle of glue. Perhaps papa didn't have his A-game on. Or perhaps it was a bonk, a moment where it wasn't thinking. Either way, there is one less rodent stalking my kitchen today. Lets hope this is not a pyrrhic victory.

Monday, October 02, 2006

It Must be Election Season

Candidates have historically paid less attention to Eckington due to low voter turnout rates. We arent Brookland, and certainly not Palisades. However, you wouldnt know that based on the back and forth on the Eckington listserv.

A concerned citizen virtually posed 5 questions to ANC candidates.

1. The intent of the ANC legislation is to ensure input from an advisory board that is made up of the residents of the neighborhoods that are directly affected by government action. The ANCs are the body of government with the closest official ties to the people in a neighborhood. As ANC Commissioner, how will you determine the wishes of the residents of your SMD? Will you be an active participant in this listserv and local civic associations? Will you answer emails and phone calls from constituents? Of course if you choose not to answer this email, that would answer this question.

2 Many residents have become disillusioned with the process at the ANC meetings. It seems like what was supposed to be a community meeting for local residents to voice their opinions, has turned into a partisan spectacle with no dissenting views allowed or tolerated. I would like to know that I could go to a meeting and ask a simple question without being ignored or reprimanded. What would you do to make this more of a community meeting once again?

3. If there were a vote before the commission and your company, relative, or place of worship had a vested interest in the outcome of that vote, would you disclose your relationship and/or abstain from voting on the matter?

4. What is your position on the destruction of one of our few remaining historic landmarks namely the St. Martins convent and school?

5. Okay. You knew this was coming. What is your position on the proposed St. Martins housing project as it is currently planned?

Finally, I would like to thank all of the candidates for stepping up and volunteering. It is a difficult and time consuming job, but an important one. We need to all get out and vote in November for the candidate we feel will best represent our neighborhood.
To date only 2 candidates have responded to the questions. Stephanie White and Kris Hammond. However, responding doesnt seem to be enough for the tough Eckington crowd. More answers have been requested.

Will the other ANC candidates Farmer Allen, and Cleopatra Jones respond to these questions? If all of the candidates respond, I would like to post them here, along with a brief profiile.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Beautiful Wednesday

Yesterday was the perfect early fall day. I took time to attend a self prescribed meeting at Langston Golf Course. Besides enjoying the sun, breeze and green grass, I was reminded again of something that we often forget. There are beautiful things here in NE. One of my favorite buildings in DC is the Charles Young School. It is so majestic and scholorly. The architechture is great, and it is a testament to earlier days.

The sounds of football practice wafted down to me on 7, 8, and 9th tees. It just was a perfect topper to a beautiful Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Unsweet Sound of Progress

This morning I was roused not by the sound of mourning doves, a single beam of sunshine through the window or the din of school children on way to class. No, it was the wonderful sound of a jackhammer plowing into the street bed on Todd Place. WHAP WHAP WHAP.

Usually the idea of the District making progress in street repair in this little hamlet within NE would be cause for celebration. I mean usually this kind of treatment is reserved for the fancy folk of Gtown, Foxhall or Cleveland Park.

A little over a month ago U st NE was paved, taking a large hunk of my pear tree with it. But it is nice to have the street fixed. Hopefully Todd Pl will be equally nice. But do they have to start damn early?

Note: Apologies for neglect of the blog. Posting from work is not a good idea for me, so I will have to pick and chose my opportunities from home. Since the last post there have been lots of activies; Elections, more crime, and a reimergence of the St. Martins issues. I would also like to thank K. from the Eckington Listserv for the computer monitor. Many thanks!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Eckington Shorts

I just reviewed the posts for the month and realized that the focus has been almost exclusively on crime. How did that happen? On the way to work this morning there were a half dozen cops between RI ave and the Harry Thomas Rec Center standing in the rain. One was a Lt. that was at our PSA meeting, who seems to be a good cop.

Visit this great post by Velvet in Dupont on several of her interactions with MPD and 311.

Here is a note from Miss Cleopatra Jones:

Dear Constituents/ Neighbors;

Smile you are on camera! Hard work has benefitted the community. Surveillance cameras to deter crime are up on the corner of Lincoln Road & R. Street, NE. The community will be getting more cameras installed, I will give you an up-date as cameras pop -up.

I just hope that these cameras are as effective as the proponents believe they will be.

Election season blues. I am saddened to see that once again we have very little choice in the mayoral race. Wouldn't it be great to have seriously talented candidates vying for the top spot? Instead we have an inexperienced young lawyer who has been admonished twice for being inept; and a woman who has been part of the problem for the last 20 years.

How are Fenty or Cropp really going to change the city for the good? Have either of them been a positive influence on the city during their tenures in City Council?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Skinny on Low Income Housing at St. Martins

The St. Martins proposed 184 room development has been a community wide issue for the last year. This topic was picked up by the Washinton Business Journal last week. For those without a subscription, the full text is in the comments section.

Below is a response to the article from a local Eckington resident who has been active in this debate. The following was taken from our local listserv.

"In response to Father Kelly’s quote in the Washington Business Journal, OK, let’s not be misinformed. We’ve gone through the salary information for police, firemen, teachers, and social workers before and most affordable housing studies put them in a group NOT covered in LIHTC funded apartments (like St. Martin’s). They are the middle class “forgotten group”. Too high an income for public funded housing, and too low an income to actually afford a home (80% AMI).

But let’s look at the numbers. I gathered this information almost one year ago so they may need minor adjustment. I’ve listed all of the sources for the following salary information, so if they are misinforming me please let them know.

DC Salary information
(From the Danter company’s market feasibility study for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program):

2005 County Median Income for the District of Columbia is $89300

The chart below lists the maximum combined incomes for groups of family members in a household. Since those salaries are shared by household residents I have added the last column which shows what these numbers mean per person.

One Person: $37,500 $37,500 per person
Two Persons: $42,840 $21,420 per person
Three Persons: $48,240 $16,080 per person
Four Persons: $53,580 $13,395 per person

Note that the larger the number, the LESS money per person. So when you see the statement, “working people who make between $30,000 and $54,000 a year,” it becomes clear that an individual making $43,000 will be turned down for residence in St. Martin’s or any other LIHTC funded project unless they have 2 non-income dependents to become a household of 3 sharing the $43,000.

Salaries of DC Police, Firemen, Teachers, and Social Workers

OK, now lets look at the average salaries of the working DC professionals used as examples of the type of people they want to attract into their complex. Consider that most of this is old information (I posted it last year and it was old then) so it is very likely that these salary levels have gone up.

Teacher Salaries (From the NEA Rankings and Estimates report dated June 2005):
Average salaries of public school teachers, 2003–04 District of Columbia : $57,009

The average Teacher would not qualify to rent in the St. Martins complex unless they were the only working person in a five-person family. Although not impossible, it’s not likely.

Police Officer Salaries (From the website):
What is the starting salary for police officers in the MPDC?
The starting salary for police officers is $44,611 a year. After 18 months of service, most police officers can expect to earn a base salary of approximately $48,809 a year. Lateral officers' starting salaries range from $46,842 to a maximum of $65,907, depending on their previous experience.

The starting Police officer would not qualify to rent in the St. Martins complex unless they were the only working person in a three-person family. If they had 18 months of service they would need to be the only working person in a four-person family to qualify. If in that 4 person family they had a child with a part time job it is likely they would not qualify at all.

Fire Service District of Columbia Salary Schedule: ( Union )
Class 01 (the lowest salary class of 9 classes) - Private Base Annual Salary October 3, 2004 $40,156 $41,361 $43,368 $45,376 $48,187 $50,999 $53,810 $56,619 $59,432

The lowest salary of a starting Fireman would not qualify to rent in the St. Martins complex unless they were the only working person in a two-person family. If they were in the middle of the Class 1 range they would need to be the only working person in a family of three. And this data is from 2004!

Social Worker Salaries (From a job posting):
Government Of The District of Columbia
Position Vacancy Announcement
Child And Family Services Agency
Human Resources Administration
Announcement No: Cfsa-05-P012 Position: Social Worker (Trainer),
DS-185-9/11/ 12
Salary Range: DS-185-09 $45,721 - $57,079 PA
First Screening Date: DS-185-11 $52,078 - $65,803 PA

The lowest paid Social Worker filling this position would not qualify to rent in the St. Martins complex unless they were the only working person in a three-person family.

ALL of these professionals would make too much money to qualify to live in the St. Martins complex if they were single or had a working spouse or child.

What does all this mean?

Well for one, it means it’s not likely to have many police, firemen, teachers, and social workers residing in the complex. Is that the issue? No, not really. But it does mean that those who planned the St. Martin ’s apartments have not thought it out very well and have no idea who their market is; or it is intentional deception to appease a neighborhood. Either of these situations concerns me.

It also concerns me that they (CCS/St. Martin’s) have seen all of this information, and heard all of our concerns. But expressions like the one in the WBJ show that they still don’t understand them. How can they run a huge apartment complex when after a year of listening to community concerns, they still get them wrong?

What is the Issue?

Any large housing complex, outrageously expensive or affordable, should be built on the edge of R-4 zoned areas on major streets, not in the middle. Otherwise they should conform to zoning (with potential minor variances).

An affordable housing complex so large that it takes up an entire city block is a community within a community. Without an appropriate mix of unrestricted housing the complex is a form of economic segregation. Also, without a financially motivating amount of market rate apartments, the complex will not have to compete and keep to market rate standards.

Bottom line – We need affordable housing. We don’t need to hear about police, firemen, teachers, and social workers because it is clear that this complex and all other LIHTC funded projects will continue to treat them as a “forgotten group”. That does not mean that others won’t be served, but we can build it without compromising reasonable zoning regulations or ripping down potentially historic landmarks. Also, we should follow modern mixed-income best practices. The newest should be better then all that came before."

Extended Neighborhood Restaurant Review

I took a moment last evening to "dine" at Duffy's Irish Pub on Vermont Ave.

This is part of an ongoing quest to support local entrepreneurs in their ventures in the hopes that more and more bars and sitdown restaurants will come to the Eckington-Shaw-Bloomingdale area. Having no choices is frustrating. One can only subject themselves to the "bullet-proof" KFC and Full Yum so many times. Delivery from local restaurants is a pipe dream. You have a choice of terrible chinese or nothing.

Back to Duffy's. I sat down at the bar for a post softball gnosh. There were only about 10 people in the place, and the music was low, and the nationals game was showing on both tvs. The atmosphere is different than most Irish bars. The walls are lightly colored, only a few beer and whiskey mirrors and signs. Clever quotes from Irish authors are on each wall panel. the place was clean, as was the restroom. People didnt have much to say, nor did the bartender.

Ordered the fish and chips. the cod was flaky and the batter was golden fried, but a bit bland and slightly over cooked. Slaw was not so good, but the fries were good. Bottled beer was only 3$, so that was good. 2 beers, fish and chips 17$. not too bad.

I will go there again, but need to bring a group for entertainment.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Turf War Continues

Here are a couple of reports of violence in Eckington this weekend. Note that you will probably not see this on Fox 5, or in the Washington Post A section. That is reserved for violence in "white" affluent areas like Gtown and Dupont.

"Last night (Sunday night), at approx 9:11 pm, we heard 8 shots being fired on Todd Pl NE (unit block). Within a couple of minutes, about 7-8 police cars showed up, followed by an ambulance and a fire engine. It was determined that someone had been shot, most likely in the alley behind Todd Place. Police taped off the entrance to the alley, and the shooting victim was taken away. Crime scene investigators took several pictures of the house where the shooting allegedly took place. We don’t know who the person was who was shot, nor who the perpetrator was. That’s all for now."

"Tonight (Sunday am) about twelve shots were fired in front of 1713, 1715 Lincoln Road NE. Several neighbors were awaken from their sleepy slumber around 1:15 a.m. to the sounds of helicopters circling the alley and Lincoln Road NE and MckKinley Tech. The shooter got away. A woman was shot in the leg and should survive.... Per officers on the scene the shooting is a part of the ongoing drug and turf war between Todd Place, 1st & O Street NW and Lincoln Road NE."

This is a continuation of the violence earlier this year in the same area. Let me make it easy for the police. There are bad people with guns and drugs that live on the unit block of Todd Pl. Please continue patrols and your policing efforts. One night of a spotlight wont do the trick.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Robberies and the Crime Emergency

Here is some info from MPD-5:

"Over the pastfew weeks we have had about five burglaries on the Northwest side ofP.S.A. 501. They have happened in the very late evening or earlymorning hours. The suspect entered through a first floor window and did this while the residents were home. At least one resulted in a confrontation with the owner and was heading towards a sexual assaultwhen the suspect decided to flee the house.So with that please secure your windows as best you can to prevent anyone from coming into your home. "

In related news, DCWatch has some interesting data analysis on the effectiveness of the crime emergency. Hope you are having a great vacation chief!

Dear Criminalists: on the controversy over Chief Charles Ramsey’s vacation says, “When the crime emergency started, robberies were up by 14 percent compared with the same period last year. As of yesterday, robberies were up 8 percent. . . .”

In any case, both a 6 percent decrease and an 8 percent increase are within normal variations in crime statistics, which are often very slippery things. I’d have eaten my words and apologized if the combination of the emergency crime bill and the declaration of a crime emergency had really resulted in a 50 percent reduction in violent crimes. But it didn’t, so I won’t.

Dont Drink the Water

There are nitrates warning on water cited by stop, blog and roll in Brookland. And there is lead in the Districts water.

Now, the WASA has failed yet another test of the water supply. How is it possible that WASA cant get it right, they have discontinued filter distribution, and continue to fail tests and no one is up in arms? Maybe I am a little Opie like, but being able to drink the water is pretty basic, and very important. Where are we Haiti?

While Ms. Holmes Norton has asked for WASA to brief her, what will the outcome be? In the meantime, it looks like I will have to resort to a water cooler. A sad state of affairs.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What? You Aren't a Cute White Girl Debutante?

There has been an inordinate amount of coverage over the last decade over the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. Yes the incident is tragic, a little strange, and plagued by poor police work and media speculation.

I can't stand the fact that the media has spent all of their time sensationalizing this topic, to the point of arresting a man that most certainly did not commit the murder (i will take all bets). Why do they do it?

What really bothers me is that this cute, beauty queen wannabe has been sucking police resources for over a decade. During the same period of time (1996-2006) there have been approximately 2,530 murders in DC. (source MPD and DoJ).

Many of these are unsolved, most are not covered in the TV or print, even in DC much less nationally. The one exception: Chandra Levy. Case, still open. There have been manhunts, scouring the park and intense investigation.

Wouldnt it be nice if the resources could be reallocated from high viz cases to an equitable effort for all murder cases whether it be a black, brown, yellow or white victim? And even better, what if we spent money on patrols, better trained and equiped cops and community policing rather than bloated overtimes by senior MPD staffs and whiz-bang technologies like cameras?

Just one more point; it is interesting to me that the recent spate of violence in Gtown and the mall has sparked a ton of interest. Where was Fox 5 when there were about 6 shootings on my block in a week?

Crime needs to be addressed city-wide (and accross the country) and not based on color, race or religion.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Sumpin Different

As mentioned in an earlier post, I will try to frequent as many local restaurants as possible. Hopefully, doing my part to spend money at the places of business of Shaw, Bloomingdale, Ledroit merchants would help them succeed, and hopefully lead to more business starts.

Tonight I went over to infamous Thai-Xing. I have heard great things about it, and finally had a chance to check it out. I ordered ahead, which shortened my wait (which is apparently legendary already). I spent only about 5-10 minutes in the cramped English Basement as Kaw prepared my food.

The smells coming from my carry-out bag were wonderful. I couldnt wait to get home to taste. I started with the spring rolls which have been described by another blog as "tight as Cohibas". It is true, there are many layers of wrapper, crispy even after the trip home. They are hearty and dense without the greasiness that normally accompanies such fare. I found the filling to taste good, but a bit dry. The wonderful spicy sweet sauce was perfect accompaniment.

This was followed by an interesting dish called Yum Woon Sen, which is billed as translucent chicken mushrooms spring onions and cilantro in lime sauce. Mine was missing the mushrooms, but the flavor was fresh and tasty. Cilantro and lime gave a great bite to the noodles.

For an entree, I was pretty conservative and tried the beef penang. The sauce smacked of fresh homemade cooking. The cream of the coconut milk was jazzed up with a good amount of spice. It was very tasty, albeit a bit salty.

All in all, very impressed. The food tasted fresh unlike many of the "new" Thai places in town. I strongly recommend this place and will visit again soon.

Crime Cameras to the Rescue?

Another article from the Washington Post "Four neighborhood surveillance cameras will be installed this week on D.C. streets as part of the city's crime emergency plan, which will bring as many as 48 cameras to some of Washington's more violent areas in the coming weeks.

The first cameras will be installed in the Northeast, Southeast and Northwest quadrants, on blocks where robberies, drug dealing and assaults frequently occur, police said. All will be encased in bulletproof boxes."

At the risk of being labeled soft on crime, or a crazy lefty who is in the pocket of the ACLU, I have serious reservations about this $2.3 million program.

-This is an emergency program that is creating a potentially long-term program without proper planing, total cost of ownership or measures of effeciveness.

-While cameras can be a valuable tool for the police, proper resources, training and effort must be undertaken.

-Cameras cannot compete with beat cops. A strong police presence is much more valuable than cameras.

-Who will be monitoring these computers? Out good friends at the Unified Communications Center?

-The broken call center cannot adequately handle calls from residents on either the 311 or 911 lines. Those calling 911 have been put on hold, ignored, or had the information dispatched to cops too late for anyones good. 311 has a reputation of being a garbage bin of unactionable tips. Many which could be valuable in fighting crime, building cases against scofflaws.

-Looking at the track record of the UCC, I am dubious of the effectiveness of this new camera initiative.

-There is also the big brother thing. But in general, I feel that DC will "eff" it up, resulting in a waste of money while incorrectly focusing police from the streets to the computer monitor.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Politics du Jour-- Crime Emergency

The WashPost has an article this morning on a new flyer circulated by Linda Cropp highlighting the differences between her and Adrian Fenty (who has a significant lead). In particular she has honed in on his nay vote on the Crime Emergency Bill.

"According to that page, there were 39 assaults from July 16 to 22, up from 25 during the same week in 2005, an increase of 56 percent. In one category of robberies, the site lists 383 incidents from Jan. 1 through July 22, compared with 284 during the same period last year, an increase of 35 percent.

However, the statistics that Cropp offered stopped short of painting a complete picture of the city's crime problem.

For example, the police department released statistics yesterday that said there have been 2,376 robberies this year through yesterday, up 11 percent from the same time last year. Assaults with a deadly weapon increased 2 percent, and sexual assaults are up 16 percent this year compared with last year. There were 13 homicides in the first 11 days of July, although homicides are down 7 percent from the same time a year ago."

While this is politics as usual, is there a valid claim that Fenty is soft on crime for not supporting the emergency crime bill? Do either of the candidates have a real plan to attack crime in the coming years so there will not be the need for emergency bills?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Green Line

I took the bus and metro combo today to get to work. The bus was quick, convenient and pleasant. I got onto the Shaw metro around 8am, which is generally considered rush hour. It was kind of surprising that the green line train didnt arrive for 7 minutes. In the grand scheme of things, seven minutes isnt a big deal. But wouldnt one think that during rush hour on a Monday morning that there would be more frequent trains?

Eckington Hotel?

What's Up With The Eckington Hotel? (Courtesy of Scott Roberts Bloomingdale list)

The ANC 6C report in the August 2006 Hill Rag provides an update on the hotel slated for 201 Florida Avenue NE:

– CSC Urban Partners, developers of the new Eckington Hotel to be located on 201 Florida Ave., NE , came before the Commission seeking support for a zoning variance and several special exceptions to accommodate building plans on this irregular shaped parcel.

The hotel, with plans for 242 rooms, is envisioned to accommodate travelers doing business at the ATF Building and other new office complexes planned for the NoMa, North Capitol Street Corridor.

The proposed hotel complex is situated snugly between the new bike trail that runs along the rail lines, Patriot Plaza, and the New York Avenue Metro Station. Plans for the hotel include retail space designed to attract metro riders. After much discussion regarding the planned number of parking spaces, street access for metro buses and other vehicles, the Commission voted to approve the zoning variance and special exceptions.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Kudos to Cops.

Saturday morning around 3:00 there were some shots fired off around North Capitol and T Street N.E.

A neighbor provided a description and the Hot Zone Unit was able to chase one of the suspects down and recover the gun as well. The suspect was arrested and arraigned for carrying a pistol without a license.

One more gun off the street.

Friday, August 04, 2006

mmmm blacktop

In a nearly unparalleled move, the city has taken to paving the patchwork quilt that has been U St NE. They began by stripping off the whole top layer of pavement (kinda cool) and now they are getting ready to put down new blacktop.

Yesterdays work was hamperd for a good hour as one lonely car was in the way. neither contractors, cops or others were able to get a towtruck to move it. Kind of comical.

But hopefully we will have a nice new street to drive over soon.

(Update: Street is all repaved and smooth like Billy Dee Williams. It looks great!)


I know that making comment son this topic is at my own peril. But, isnt 6 hours of overtime a day for 365 days a bit excessive? This particular cop made over $250,000, more than Chief Ramsey. The most senior cops get first dibs at overtime, but 14 hours a day for a year? I am doubtful that all of that was actually worked, I will leave the investigation of that to the WashPost.

Wouldn't an active manament structure ensure that the proper resources and cops are on the street? Does expert management spend 150K on overtime rather than adding 3-4 new beat cops? Couldnt that money be more wisely spent?

Now, here is the best part... The crime emergency which is going to make us all safer is primarily suspending scheduling rules, and providing additional millions of dollars for what, (wait for it) overtime pay.

MPD continues to throw money at the problem, and ask our cops to do more with less, rely on a broken 311 and 911 system and work extra hours to make up for not enough cops.

It would be really nice if there were an actual top to bottom review of the management of MPD.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I Love Pepco

No, actually I dont.

This summer there have been two outages. Once a few weeks ago, which had been the hottest at that point in the year. The second, was last night, the hottest day of the year, and even flirted with the record for hottest day.

The worst part is the outage only affects the East side of First back up U and Todd. My neighbors accross the street all had power as I sweat it out a mere 30 ft away.

Luckily last night the power went back on around midnight. The question is, why does this portion of the grid go out?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Broken Windows or Better Management?

I agree with this article From Rebuilding Space that public safety is the number one priority facing DC. However, his thesis that “Broken Windows” policing is the solution is a stretch.

Social economists have disputed the effects of William Bratton and "Broken Windows" style policing. I have not had the time to look at all the data on NYC, or DC for that matter, but some feel that those neighborhoods that had the highest levels of crime in the 80s crack epidemic, were also the ones that saw reduce crime in the late 90s. Areas of a city cannot sustain a high level of crime. It ebbs and flows, like housing markets. Some even contend that crime rates would have been reduced regardless of policing strategy. But enough about NY, lets talk about DC.

o The murder in Georgetown last week could have been prevented if properly trained cops had followed the lead given by the theft victim.

o The police force has a limited number of personnel and financial resources.

o The communications system is broken. MPD is non-responsive, if not dismissive of calls to 311 or 911. See article in Washington City Paper.

o Many cops may be under-trained, burnt out, or hired under the Barry Administration that may not have properly vetted its officers.

o The DC court system is over-burdened and sentences rarely stick.

In order to utilize a broken windows model the PD and the courts must be ready and willing to ramp up efforts to arrest and convict many more people. Every graffiti artist, 14 year old kid beating up women on Randolph place, every person sipping 40ozers on NCap. Broken Windows is also notorious for reducing civil liberties and leading to some isolated police violence claims against NYPD.

I don’t think this is even remotely possible. Perhaps we should look at a real management shake-up.

Work to reduce corruption. Put in accounting systems to make sure gasoline, cruisers and other equipment is being misused.

Do a bottom-up personnel review, get rid of underachievers, and those who are no longer fit to police the city. Get good cops onto the street, and give commanders a squad that they can work with. Give them the tools they need to police. Keep cops in the neighborhoods, and spend more time community policing.

Finally, implement an effective, combined 911/311 dispatch system that will get the calls of victims to the beat cops. The citizens need to know that their calls are being answered. They need to know that the MPD is accountable, and they need to begin to have trust and respect for DC Cops.I completely agree with this point “In a majority minority city like DC, I think the political fallout of highly increased enforcement "against" African-Americans in particular would be significant, and no politician in the city would be willing to take such heat.” None of our mayoral candidates will take a stand on what they will do to police our city, without disenfranchising African-Americans. This is a town that has said that Tony Williams “isn’t black enough”. What would they do if there were a crime crackdown in predominantly black neighborhoods?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Community Forklift

As per usual Richard Layman is right. Community Forklift is awesome. It is a huge warehouse filled with leftover doors cabinets, tiles, lumber etc.

This is a must go to place before you go to home depot.

Supporting Local Business

There have been several posts on the listservs or on other blogs asking why people aren't supporting local restaurants. The theory being that, this area sorely needs sit-down restaurants, coffee shops and perhaps even a pub. These places create meeting places and can be a cornerstone of the hood, providing a place for people to meet, mingle, and talk with their diverse neighbors.

There are only a handful of places in the Truxton Circle area; Windows Cafe, Pyramids, Vegetate, Thai Crossing and perhaps a few others.

I have been to the Windows Cafe a few times. Sometimes for groceries, and a couple of times for food. I prefer mom and pop shops to chains, and also want to support entrepreneurs in the hood. However, at what point does that support fade due to a sub-par product, and poor customer service?

In my first visit, it took a while for them to prepare my sandwich. I took it home and it was a little below average. I decided today to try again. I placed my order, which couldnt be made due to the panini grill being broken. No Problem. I will have roast beef. 20 minutes later, still no sandwich. I ask at the counter, and they assure me that it is underway. 5 more minutes later, one of the three workers comes out to ask me what kind of bread. At this point, enough was enough, and I walked out, with no lunch.

Is it unreasonable to expect a good sandwich, made in a short amount of time, when there are only 5 people in the place?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fireworks Recap

I returned home on Tuesday night to be included in an Eckington tradition; deuling fireworks. I loved it! The people up the street had an amazing show that last nearly 90 minutes. Other corners "dueled" with them, but the U St Crew clearly won the contest. There were residual pops going on throughout the evening that kept waking me up, but for one night I was willing to turn a blind eye.

A neighbor approached me this evening, and was very upset about the celebratory displays. She will be looking into the legal code regulating fireworks. Listserv discussions showed both sides of the argument, a cop stating it is nearly impossible to deal with all of the fireworks, and revealed that 911 was innundated with calls throughout the evening. There were even reports of cops on the Key bridge "throwing in the towel" and calling out, "get some good photos".

Does the fourth of July merit a ton of fireworks displays in neighborhoods, or should the mall be the only place to view a sky filled with polychromatic explosions? Is one night of "fun" acceptable, or a lapse of order? Would our opinions change if one of our houses caught fire?

Leaded or Unleaded

Many people are aware of the difficulties the WASA has had with trying to mitigate the high lead content in Washington's drinking water.

Water purchaced from the aquaduct has been treated with a flouride compound that will supposedly reduce the amount of lead pulled from the old pipes in the city. WASA continues to replace public pipes, but there is a long way to go.

In this report it is stated that DC WASA reports to the EPA on its progress, does its own testing, and submits its results. The threshold seems to be that 100 taps must be tested, and 90% must pass with less than the 15 parts per million, the maximum allowed.

Excuse me for being a little skeptical of the manner in which these tests are being conducted, and the potential for manipulating the test sites and metrics. The WASA has already been dinged by EPA on this in January of this year (see the above article).

WASA and the EPA need to ensure that the residents of Washington are safe, and that strict testing and validation of results are conducted before a change of policy is mandated.

Arent you glad that we get to pay for unhealthy water, and now pay for commercial filters to ensure our own safety?

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Less Poetic Side of Rain

While my friend Healeyhoo provided a wonderful poem which warmed my heart, and reaffirmed how much i appreciate her, the downside of the rain has been felt by many. Our bretheren in Bloomingdale, and to a lesser extent here in Eckington, have felt the wrath of getting so much rain in a short time. Many people have shared stories about the tons of water that has ruined or at least sullied their basements.

I got off pretty well. I spent an hour this afternoon, and another hour this evening working in the unfinished basement moving a very small amount of water. Friends from CapHill, brookland and other areas have been less lucky. I almost feel bad that I was lucky.

For all of you struggling to get things dry; godspeed. I hear that National Wholesale Liquidators still has dehumidifiers and shop vacs available, while home depot and Fragers do not.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Rain, rain, rain

There is something very cathartic about the rain. Perhaps it is the sounds of thunder, and the white noise created by millions of droplets hitting the pavement that creates an orchestra of sound. The white noise is very soothing, and seems to make me very introspective. As I sit here on my porch watching the lightening and enjoying the peacefulness, I can't help but think about how great the rain is.

I have flowers everywhere in my yard, all which are enjoying the liquid nourishment they are receiving. Daisies, Hibiscus, lillys and others are doing great. They are joined with herbs which are starting to get going. Hopefully good culinary arts will follow.

The rain has meant something very different to me since moving to DC seven years ago. In a city that often has red ozone alerts, a ton of trash on the streets and general city filth, every time it rains hard like this is an oportunity for cleansing, or renewal. In otherwords, DC is getting a much needed shower.

People are off the streets, it is quiet, there isnt a firecracker (or gunshots) to be heard. It is a nice change of pace. I tend to do a million things until my body and mind are exhausted. this weekend has been more about relaxing and enjoying my house and neighborhood.

It could also be that the clouds and rain are preventing my directv from working which is giving me a few moments to reflect, rather than staring into the boob tube.

Hopefully all of you are enjoying this time as well.

Darwin Award for the weekend

Saturday evening I left the friendly confines of the district, and headed out to Crofton MD for a bbq. The drive was surprisingly quick, it took me only about 15 minutes as traffic on 50 was light.

While on 50, there were two moron on crotch rockets (motorcycles) doing the dumbest stunts imaginable. They were riding extended wheelies at over 90 miles an hour, weaving in and out of traffic, looking back at one another without paying attention to the road in front of them. But my favorite was the guy who was riding the bike at nearly 100 mph, side-saddle and then riding on the side of the bike, hanging on with only his arms as he rode with both feet dragging flat footed on the left side of the bike. it is the dumbest thing i have ever seen attempted on a vehicle. I was curious if Dr. Darwin was looking down and scratching his head in the same way I was.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sad News from the Tune Inn

It is with great sadness that I provide an update from the Tune Inn (my favorite DC Bar). Metrocurean broke the story, and has done a fantastic job capturing the essence of the bar, and the passing of the owner.

My condolences.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


-Apologies for not posting as regularly as I would like. Composing posts from work is becoming less of a good idea, and therefore will be a good bureaucrat, and blog from home. This will reduce the frequency of posts, but hopefully will improve the content. Please keep visiting.

-St. Martin's. The hearing to consider the convent for historical designation has been delayed. this has been covered well by Scott Roberts. I am wondering what caused the delay? Regular red tape, or lobbying by an outside source? Those that want to send a letter in support of the designation, let me know. some in the Eckington hood have some good model letters you can crib from.

-Mayoral candidate Fenty was with a few staffers on NY ave this am holding signs. Can he catch Linda Cropp? Does Marie Johns have a chance in hell?

-Someone busted the lock to my back gate in the middle of the day. wonder why, and who would do that. nothing appears to be missing, and nothing is destroyed. Bored neighborhood kids?

-the house across the street has finally sold, closing was last week. new neighbors coming in. We will see if they will be good for the hood.

- My garden is blooming. Iris', daiseys and the trees are lush. Now if I could only keep up with the weeds and the mowing!


Thursday, June 15, 2006

St. Martins HPRB Hearing Postponed

Thanks to Scott Roberts for this update:

Dear Friends
David Maloney, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, just informed me that the St. Martin's School and Convent application for listing on the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites originally scheduled for June 22 has been postponed. When the new date is set we will contact you with that information.
In the interim, thank you for your comments regarding the nomination. We will retain your comments and include them in the HPRB packets when the nomination returns to the agenda.
Bruce Yarnall
Education Program Manager
D.C. Historic Preservation Office

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Here is a random assortment of non-sequitor thoughts.

-From the Bloomingdale list: From a 1st Street NW resident: "A word to the wise: We planted a pretty little young Japanese maple in front of our house last summer. This morning I walked outside to discover a gaping hole where the tree had once been and no tree. I can only assume that someone has stolen it in the hopes of selling it on the black decorative tree market.

-Related, a neighbor on First St NE recently had all of the plants on his front porch stolen. Is there a market for this stuff, or are there green thumbed theives around.

-Fireworks: they are being mentioned everywhere. They are noisy, and are difficult to distinguish from gunfire unless you are close. What I am wondering is- Is using firecrackers a good way to mask gunshots by "evil doers".

-Saw a kid no older than 14 drinking beer out of a 22 oz can last week.... Do the markets sell to them, or does a buyer do it. In a related note, a good, yound kid on my block was drinking his soda out of a paper bag. I was going to say something to him, but he was gone before I could scold him about it.

-MPD was staking out the community center softball field last night. It was good to see.

-Houses for sale. there are four houses for sale on my block. I wonder if they will be sold to gentrifiers, or will continue down the path of disrepair.

Friday, June 09, 2006

St. Martins Revisited

The waters have been fairly calm over the past several months in regard to the proposed redeveloment of the St. Martin's housing project in Eckington. I believe there has been some back and forth about the size of the project, none of which has been resolved.

However, about a month ago the St. Martin's Covenant building was nominated for Historic Preservation status. This would conceivably make development of the area more difficult for St. Martin, as they had intended to raze the old building.

The hearing for the meeting is coming up, and our good friend Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale has dug up the following information....

Recap: St. Martin's is interested in demolishing and razing the convent building on its site in order to clear the property for its all-new-construction rental apartment building. The historic nomination has temporarily halted the demo/raze permit for the building.

The convent -- as well as the St. Martin's School -- will be on the agenda of the Thursday, June 22, 2006, Historic Preservation Review Board public hearing.

Recall that ANC 5C voted to support the St. Martin's housing project for the Eckington site behind the leadership of Cleopatra Jones, a parishioner at St. Martins.

(He) asked Bruce Yarnall of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board how residents could express themselves regarding the historic nomination of St. Martin's convent & school, which are on the 6/22/2006 HPRB public hearing agenda.

To provide your feedback on this nomination for Historic Preservation of St. Martins covenant, please mail email or fax comments to

Tersh Boasberg, HPRB Chairman
Office of Planning/Historic Preservation Office
801 N. Capitol Street, NE #3000
Washington, DC 20002

They can be faxed to : See above at: 202.741.5246

They can be e-mailed to: See above at:

In all instances, please have individuals reference: St. Martin's School and Convent HPA 06-10

I STRONGLY recommend that comments for and against reach us no later than COB 6/14/2006 in order to include the material in the HPRB Board members mailing that goes out on June 15. Any received after June 15 will be presented to board members the day of the meeting.

The official agenda for the meeting can be found
-What are the consequences of this passing? Will St. Martin's be in a position to look for other ways to make their housing project work? Will it erase any good tidings that have may be remaining?
-What are the options if this passes or fails?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have not yet decided on my position, and whether I will submit a letter to the board. I am a 200 ft Club person, so it is very important to me.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I knew I had good taste

The good people at Esquire magazine have named my favorite bar, The Tune Inn as one of the best bars in the south. While I really dont need the validation of a fancy schmancy magazine with half naked people and cologne samples in it, the accolade is kinda cool. I also have problems with calling DC the south, but that is another issue.

Hopefully this good press wont prevent me from grabbing a stool, grabbing a beer, and watching my beloved Red Sox on NESN.

Congrats Tune Inn.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

An endorsement

Getting a cab in my hood is difficult. Several companies have p*ssed me off by not coming for the fare, or just refusing outright. After struggling to find a good cab service for eckington, I have finally found one. DC Express Cab Association (202) 484-8516. They arrived a scant 10 minutes after I called at 130 am. I was very impresed.

Summer Joy in an End Unit Rowhouse

I had heard the warnings from neighbors; "these houses are like ovens. they arent insulated well, and the sun beats on them all day, making it hot as hell." I listened, but didn't really believe that it would be that bad, this early.

After a fairly sleepless night on Monday with only a ceiling fan to circulate the warm air, I was determined to ensure the next night would be better. Arriving home after softball, and post victory beer drinking, I walked into the sauna that is my house. At 1030 pm, the temperature in the house was a balmy 88 degrees. Not exactly prime sleeping weather.

I trodded down to the basement to pull out the a/c units that were tucked away under the stairwell. These were a conveyed "gift" from the previous owners. Both were installed in a matter of minutes, the only damage, 3 small cuts on my right hand. No idea how that happened. The units looked as though they were manufactured in 1982. They didn't seem to have much effect on the convection oven conditions in my bedroom, and undoubtedly have quadrupled my electric bill. But they will have to do until I either win the lotto, or find a sugar mamma to pay for central air......

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Really bad guy guilty

You may have seen this on the "major outlets" but thought it interesting to post here. Sniper guilty.

Will there be a tug of war between MD-VA and DC for who gets to punish him first?

Memorial Day Shorts

-It was a wonderful holiday weekend. Weather was nice and sunny, and the DC summer has finally arrived. The warm weather will force me into installing window units, or trying to scrape up the cash for central (unlikely). In the meantime, my little end unit is a red brick oven, baking throughout the day. Even the ceiling fans couldnt provided the cooling power necessary for a good nights sleep.

-I took advantage of the Ft. Totten Dump this weekend. All in all a good experience. I was waved right in to dump my misc. house/construction waste, and didnt have to get weighed. It was easy and fast. Not a bad setup really, although if there is a lineup, i am sure it is a pain.

-Had a BBQ on sunday. it was very succesful, first one of the year, and of the new house. All went well. We even entertained the neighborhood kids for a while with "games" of wiffleball.

With the good however comes the bad.

-According to a poster on the Eckington Listserv, there was a shooting on Sat night/early Sun am on Lincoln and R St NE.

" I think there were five shots, in rapid succession. it sounded like they were fired from a fairly stationary position, somewhere near the liquor store entrance. this would've been probably between 1:30 and 2:00. Immediately after the shots, a boxy white SUV, eastbound on R St., turned left onto Lincoln Road and sped away to the north.

a little while after that a fire truck with the siren going came up Lincoln Rd and stopped near the shelter/rec center. [what may have been] a couple of unmarked police cars trailing the fire truck (from two different directions) paused near the intersection briefly. The cops taped off the section of R St between NCap and Lincoln.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ouch! and other related stories.

Please read this story on a local thug being shot in a drive-by shooting last night inShaw. That has got to hurt.

More from the crime blotter: On Tuesday (May 23rd) at around 7:00 pm, a man was assaulted at the corner of North Capitol and Rhode Island after getting off the bus. . The two thugs that attacked him didn't even ask for money or anything. They swung a stick and threw a bottle his head. After a short time, they took off running.

Keep your heads up, and your eyes open.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back to bad news

Just saw this courtesy of stop blog and roll.

A ride on the metro

I have to confess that for the last 9 months of my seven years in DC, I have become a driver. My workplace has plenty of parking, and it only takes about 15 minutes to get there. Today, the car went into the shop, and the metro once again became my reliable friend. A couple of thoughts occurred to me;

The new metro lady voice bothers me. It seems curt, and un friendly. Maybe the nice but stern school teacher voice from the past became soothing and almost welcoming each morning. You knew that even though she was saying "Please stay clear of the doors", underneath the warning was a little bit of love. You also knew that if you didnt move, she might rap your knuckles with a ruler. (i wonder if they could bring her back to encourage tourons to stand to the right.....)

The new bells are worse than the new voice. The friendly ding dong, was a nice prelude to your day, and an inviting tone to the billions of tourons in the city.

The Washington Post Express is by far the most disposable item ever. Never before has there been a larger creation of garbage ever. (except cigarette butts)

Under no circumstances is it acceptable to pass gas on a metro train (or bus), especially at 8am....

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Things that are fun...

This blog is often focused on bad news and things that are challenging. I just wanted to take a moment to say how much i love that we have an ice cream truck in our neighborhood. No matter how much older i get, hearing that sound just makes me feel happy. I have spoken with the Ice Cream Lady too, and she is wonderful! Remember to save enough change for a drumstick, pushup, fudgicle or a chocolate eclair!

Schools, Population and the Mayoral Race

The Post ran an article this morning on the importance of education, and how candidates are reacting to those needs. There is an absolute education crisis in DC. There are crumbling, unsafe schools that cannot woo great teachers. There isnt enough money spent on the schools to ensure children have an environment, and proper building and curriculum to succeed. Schools are being closed around town due to drops in population. What is one of the reasons for drops in population despite the efforts of Mayor Williams? Schools. The schools are terrible. And even though there has been a resurgence of shops, arts, restaurants all over the city, there is an overwhelming sentiment; I cant raise kids here. DC will never be able to bring back 100,000 people until this issue is solved. In fact, we are losing people to the burbs.

The article points out these stark performance measures:

Average test scores are lower than in every other district participating in a federal assessment of urban schools. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education labeled the D.C. system a "high risk" recipient of federal grants, calling its fiscal management, in effect, the worst in the country. With enrollment dropping, officials last week announced plans to close six underused schools. Program cuts mean art, music and Spanish are unavailable in some schools. At others, parent groups pay for libraries, nurses and teachers' aides.

There are bright spots. Woodrow Wilson Senior High School in Tenleytown and Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Columbia Heights consistently rank in the top 1 percent of public high schools in the country and among the top 30 schools in the Washington region. But the overall picture is grim: Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of District residents don't have a high school diploma.

I sincerely hope that Cropp, Fenty, Johns, et al have a plan.......

Taking out the trash (both kinds)

Last night i was surprised to see another beacon of light coming from the unit block of Todd Pl. This corner of Lincoln and Todd has been a hotspot for a while. Many people loiter, and appear to be selling drugs adjacent to the Lincoln Market. While shining lights isnt a long term solution, having a police presence there is a step in the right direction.

As for the other trash, apparently by moving the pick-up day to Weds, they are faster. I didnt put the supercan out last night, and was too late this morning even after rushing downstairs at 7am. Now I know.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What the H*LL

One member of the Eckington Listserv brought our attention to the following: DOH will be moving additional drug addicts to 1300 First St NE . Is Ward 5 really the dumping ground for these kinds of projects?

How will the area be able to be revitalized, and become a "main street", when we are creating Low-income housing, homeless shelters, Addiction Prevention and Recovery Centers instead of community resources, businesses, restaurants, repairing schools and improving the safety and security of our streets?

Where's the Beef?

In the DC North Magazine, Elizabeth McGowan gives an update on the race for City Council Seat in Ward 5

There are over 12 people who are running for the seat now held by Vincent Orange. As mentioned in the article, many of those will drop out, as voter recognition in one precinct will not carry over into a Ward victory. Funding and good organization will be necessary to make a race out of this thing. "boot leather" and pounding the street won't be enough.

The most interesting part of the article to me was Mr. Wilds statement of "Wilds visibly jolted his counterparts at the April 24 forum when he told the audience: “I look at the stage and say, ‘Where’s the beef?’ Where have they been for the last eight, 10, 12 years?”

I know very little about Mr. Wilds, or about the rest of the field at this point, other than Mr. Thomas. But it seems interesting to me that there arent more qualified, higher visibility names in this smattering of contestants*. This election isnt for an ANC seat, but for a Ward, with a population of over 75,000 people.

Will those that are young and determined, be able to battle with the battle tested and name recognizable? Do the "old guys" still have the drive to make things happen in this blossoming section of the city, or will they rest on their laurels once in office (like the current seatholder)?

*This post is not directed at any one candidate, non-partisan, and certainly uneducated. Hope that I can learn about the candidates along the way.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Representation v. Taxation

A congressional committee overwhelmingly approved a bill yesterday that would grant the District a permanent, full voting member of the House of Representatives and add another legislator from Utah. Link

The article goes on to say that getting voting rights in the District is unlikely. As I mentioned in another article, perhaps we are going about this the wrong way....

Should the District of Columbia be taxed?


-One of my great neighbors is moving to MD. She will truly be missed. Best of luck J!

-I am renting out the spare bedroom of my house as of yesterday. A tenant arrived last evening, and seems to be a very nice guy.

-Crumbling wall. The brick and concrete wall surrounding the Methodist Church on Lincoln is crubling. There is red tape all around the sidewalk. This job will be a pricey one.

-According to the MDP-5 listserv; (On Saturday) there was some rapid gunfire going off near Bates and Truxton Circle. We received information that the shots were coming from the Third District. We have no reports of injuries or property damage in the Fifth District. Then at the end of the shift a person was found in the Unit block of T Street N.E. They were dead from a gunshot wound. Right now we have no leads in the case.

-There seems to be a bit of a stir about Richard Layman of Rebuilding Space in Urban Place fame having a walk through of the FL market yesterday. One poster on the Eckington list questioned his motivation for this walkthrough. I have sent Richard an email, asking for a response. My initial impression is that the market has a ton of potential, and there is ad hoc changes being made (such as tearing down US Beef overnight), without looking at the way the area could be developed intelligently.

-Also from the listserv, guard your trashcans! Local landscapers and odd job mavens may be stealing super cans from alleys. Also ensure that they dispose of your yard and house waste properly.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Tour of Florida Wholesale Market

On Saturday, May 20, Richard Layman and Elise Bernard will be conducting two tours of the Florida Market area because:

(1) it's cool;
(2) there are proposals to tear it all down (and one building came down in the last few weeks);(3) there are proposals to revitalize the market based on its character as a food-based wholesale and retail distribution center (in the Office of Planning's Cluster 23 Area Plan);
(4) the market area will be torn down because the land is worth a lot more money now, given the proximity of the subway station ("exchange value of place").

Without the addition of people power to the equation, the market will cease to exist.We will do this tour for the first time on Sat. May 20th. (Sorry for the late notice.)Our idea is that we can repeat these tours in June and July, and maybe even in August depending on demand. This is sort of a test, to see how long it takes, judge interest, and not be overburdened.We are breaking this up into two tours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.l)

10 am - 12 noon: meet at the north exit (Florida Avenue side) of the New York Avenue Metro Station (red line)walk to the market area starting with Young's Deli for breakfastthen visit:Obengs (African foods)Wangs (vegetables)US Beef (meat and other)Kangs (comparable to a supermarket)Eastern Supply (paper goods)figure this tour wraps up around noon.2) The afternoon tour starts at 12:15, also at the north exist (Florida Avenue) of the New York Avenue Metro Station. The afternoon tour is likely longer than the morning tour.Best Equipment (400 block of Morse)meat place next to BestHalal (5th Street) (Middle eastern foods)Mexican Fruit (5th Street)DC Farmers MarketFlea MarketLitteri's Italian Deli (end) -- can get sandwiches, San Pellegrino Limonata, Manhattan Express Espresso Soda, etc. to eat

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yard Sale

Hope to see you all at the Crispus Attucks Park Yard sale tomorrow Saturday, May 20th 8:00 am to 2:00 pm in

1st & U Streets, NW

I will be there in the morning looking for accoutrements to my thinly furnished house. Hopefully there will be a bed frame and other small items.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Third Street NE

This weekend I walked home from Home Depot. It was actually not a bad walk, and was a great way to get a different perspective of the hood. Much better than whizzing by in a car. A poster on one of the Listservs had asked about the route and how safe it was. So, I paid attention to potential risks. The underpass of the metrorail isnt nearly as bad as I thought it would be. there was minimal garbage, no homeless people (it was sunday afternoon), no condoms, no smell of urine. This underpass is much better than the one near the NY ave metro.

I had seen the basketball court on the roof of the community center next to the Auto Zone, but never knew that they had many other things, including a bowling alley. That is actually very cool.

There was a buzz of activity at the church across the street. Lots of people wearing their Sunday best, celebrating mothers day.

Back when I was looking for a house, there was a property on 4th and W st that I was interested in. It was a beautiful house that had been completely redone. I was concerned with the surroundings, in particular the apt building on RI and 4th. The building appears to be shuttered, and has No Trespassing signs on the front door. If only I had of known that then!

As I walked down third street, I was dismayed at the tremendous amount of trash strewn along the sidewalk and street. There was little to no concern by the residents of the building on the west side of the street to keep things nice. There was also a shrine to someone near a tree halfway down the block. there were several dozen bottles of brandy, grey goose and champagne adorning a sign. I wonder how long that has been there. How long will it continue to be there?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Changing Attitudes

After making several discoveries over the last couple weeks, I am indeed going to have to start being much more vigulent about taking care of things. Since moving in the following have gone missing from my house:


Granted, I have no one to blame but myself. Leaving these items out invited theft. I just wish that these garden items could be safe in my backyard. I wish that the hood was safe enough that this wouldnt be an issue. Most of all, I hope that the thief will use these items to put food on thier family's table.

I also was discouraged to find a condom wrapper in the stairs leading to my basement. This was a whole new wake up call. I have seen them on the burm next to the sidewalk. That doesnt thrill me, but I can deal with that. Having someone on my property "transacting", is nearly nauseating.

The point is, steps need to be taken by me to limit the possibilities of theft and prostitution. I am buying locks, leaving the back light on, and working to secure my stairs. If it werent for people like me, (not securing my stuff) there would be no thievery in the world.

I guess it is a good thing for this awakening. I have always felt that man is good by nature, but is corrupted by society. Society's negative influence on otherwise virtuous men centers, in Rousseau's philosophy, on its instinctive human desire for self preservation, combined with the human power of reason.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Big 'O'

Tonight there will be the first COVE meeting at McKinley High School for Eckingtonians (and other hoods) to meet our mayoral candidates. Tonight is the first in the series, which will feature our current councilman Vincent Orange.

I know very little about the man, but from his biography he seems very well educated and moderately accomplished. My field is internationally focused, and his participation in delegations is interesting (although very little is accomplished on delegations).

His current commitees include public works, operations and redistricting. All of which could use some significant work. That being said other mayoral candidates have had issues surrounding their management of committees and services within the district (Fenty).

Vinny seems to be a little short on solutions, and long on publicity stunts like pumping gas, offering amendments on minority ownership of the Nationals and other issues that are not absolutely critical to the success or improvement to the District of Columbia.

I think it was InShaw that said there seems to be a lot of Vinny signs on lampposts and very few in peoples yards.

That being said, i am going to try and attend the COVE meeting tonight to get a better idea of the man that is running for mayor. Hope to report back tomorrow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Update on Shame on Me Post

As some of you remember I had an issue with a neighbor recently . I wrote a letter asking for repayment of the fraudulently taken money, and expressed dissapointment in them or someone that they know, stealing money from me. I requested that they pay me back as of May 1.

I never got the money back, and doubt that I will. All in all, i am going to take it as a loss, a learned lesson that is difficult to swallow. No matter how heart-breaking a story, i cant be the nice guy that I know that I am. My efforts will be toward other community resources that can help people in need.

The whole situation is sad, and I wish that things were different. But that is life.

Police Floodlights

Last night on the corner of Lincoln Rd and R St, the MPD placed a police van and a bank of floodlights shining up Lincoln Rd. This is generally supposed to bring light to dark streets and discourge crime and drug dealing.

I approve of any efforts by MPD to reduce crime in our area. The shootings on Lincoln and Todd last week, and the violence on 1st St NW this week have got to stop.

I was struck though that the lights were put on that corner. I would think that they would have been more effective adjacent to the community center, closer to Seaton, and Todd Sts.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Police Action-response to WashCityPaper Article

The article certainly points out the shortcomings of the 311 system, and the deluge of requests that are phoned in. I think that we all understand that in nearly every situation, the resources allocated to an issue are rarely enough for 100% attention. We know that there arent enough cops, or operators or caseworkers to handle every call the way that we think it should be handled.

It would be great if the cops would show up within 10 mins after you report your car stolen, or when shots are fired or when a hooker and john get done doing the nasty in the alley. Sometimes our expectations are set a little high.

We have seen several notations on this listserv of the good work that the MPD has done in responding to individual 911 calls in Bloomindale, Eckington and Eastern Shaw. The response to the recent spate of violence on Lincoln Rd, Todd Place and even recently on First St NW has been very good. That being said, prevention of these incidents are key, rather than waiting to cart off 3 wounded men in an ambulance.

All that being said, there needs to be a couple of things done to improve how policing and communications systems like 311-911 interact to reduce crime.

1. 311 and 911 operators need to have an updated Standard Operating Proceedure to triage and prioritize calls. I would assume that this is the case with 911, but perhaps a similar hierarchy could be created for 311. For instance: event in progress, event passed, theft, info only, cat stuck in tree etc.

2. Once these calls are triaged, there still needs to be follow-up by someone. In the IT world it is called a ticketing system. After each request has been taken, it is issued a 'ticket', after resolution, it is closed out. I would recommend that these cases be handled by a specific group or unit, rather than taking invaluable beat cops away from fighting crime, projecting a presence, and working on their community policing.

3. Metrics. The city has crime statistics for each MPD Ward, and PSA. Crime rate per 1000 or similar metric will give you those neighborhoods with the most need of resources. Additionally there are designated hotspots that are already supposed to be getting additional resources. If there are additional resources given to hotspots and the highest crime rate areas metrics can also be used to see if they are effective. Number of arrests and a reduction of crime incidents per month can be utilized to give an effectiveness rating for the cops.

Monday, May 01, 2006


What a beautiful weekend. I spent a majority of the weekend working on my house, but did manage to get out a bit to enjoy the beautiful weather.

-There was a small block party "health fair" in bloomingdale on Saturday. There were a few tables set up, basketball hoop and a few people hanging out. It didnt seem too busy when i was at Window around 1 pm. I had my first sandwich from windows. It wasnt bad, but not spectacular either. it is good to know that there is a good place to get some necessities nearby.

-My yard is a disaster. The grass seed planted a few weeks ago has come up sparsely. It looks like it will have to look poor for a while, as i dont have the money for sod, and it is too late to plant more seed.

-New neighbor has moved in down the street, lots of new blood coming in.

-Odd Jobs. Mari had mentioned hiring kids to do work around the house, watering, picking up trash etc. What is the going rate? For instance, if i ask the neighbor boy 'C' to pick up trash around the house, that will take 5-10 minutes how much should i pay? 2-3$? I mean, if the day laborers at home depot make around 15-20$ per hour for skilled labor, then 2-3 would be right, no?

-The triangle park just south of the flea market on N.Cap and Lincoln has seen the evolution from tulips to Allium giganteum, which are very cool flowers. See photo above.

-Help requested from readers. do you know where i could find parts for an old glider patio couch? I also need ideas on where to find cheap replacement cushions.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Last nights menu.

In an attempt to focus on other things besides nightly shootings around my block, I bring you info on what I served at my house.

I had a dear friend over for dinner. Decided to "wing it" and through stuff together with an asian theme. I started with black pepper and sesame crusted tuna-grilled rare served with a creamy wasabi sauce, Sauteed baby bok choy and spicy rice noodles with water chestnuts and chili paste. Everything came out great, and it was super easy! Dinner for two cost about $20 with leftovers.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I messed up--big time

I messed up, therefore you save.

Last weekend i measured my 2nd bedroom, i didnt write down the measurements, and went to the store. Purchased a nice brand new, semi-banded remnant from Georgetown carpets. Got it home, i was 6" short.

At any rate, I have a 8' x 12' carpet remnant for sale. Brand new, clean, still has the new carpet smell. I will deliver. Bought for 415$ will eat the 65$ so i can avoid further embarrasment. Carpet is a solid beige/tan. Very nice wool carpet. Please let me know if anyone is interested.


Going Away Dinner

A friend of mine is headed to Sri Lanka for the next year. To mark this farewell, I invited her, and our friends J and J over for dinner last night. I have been very self conscious about having people over to my house as there are many projects still underway, and i have very sparce furnishings, including an old wobbly card table as a dining spot. I have decorated this with the expensive tablecloth and placemats from National Wholesale Liquidators (total $10). But, hey a friend is headed to South Asia for a year, suck it up. I love to cook, so this is fun for me. To add to the challenge, the goal is to get out of work, get to the grocery store, fight traffic, and prepare all of the food (minus grilling) before friends arrive. I managed to pull all of the preparation together in less than 45 mins.

First Course, homemade guacamole and chips.
Second course, grilled shrimp (not over cooked) with cilantro-lime butter.
Main Course, Marinated-Grilled Flatiron Steak, medium rare, and marinated chicken breast served with brown rice and frijoles negras, and char-grilled bell peppers.

All of the meal turned out great, and dinner for 4 cost only about 45$

Update on Sunday's shooting

I want to preface this story by mentioning the purpose of this blog is not to focus on the negatives; Crime, doom and gloom. I love living in Eckington, and for the most part, I have great neighbors, a great street and a great home. However, there are bad things that happen, that either those who live here, or those who might need to know. Safety and security is a big issue, thus the inclusion of these types of reports. I hope to balance this with more positive posts as well.

This was taken from Scott's Bloomingdale listserv...

Gunfire On The Unit Block of Todd Place NE

Received Tuesday morning, 4/25/2006, from a resident on the unit block of Todd Place NE:

At approximately 12:00 am last night, we heard 8 shots ring out in succession. I thought at first they were just firecrackers, but when my other half went to the front of the house to look out on our street, she saw several people running and somebody shouting “they got such-and-such” (the name was unintelligible).

I immediately called 311 and reported that shots had been fired. Before I could even finish my conversation with the operator, the police came zooming down our street. The doors of the police car flew open and two officers jumped out, drew their guns and told everyone outside to get down. The male officer shouted at a couple of the people outside to get down, and the female officer went running down the street in pursuit of a suspect. After a short while, both police officers got back in their vehicle and sped off down the street. Eventually, some of the people outside reconvened and started discussing things.

This morning, one of my neighbors knocked on my door and said her car had a flat tire, which was apparently caused by one of the flying bullets. She was wondering if anything had happened to either one of our cars, which thankfully it hadn’t. I got to talking with one of other neighbors across the street, and it’s clear that the people doing these things don’t live on our street. But we seem to have some people on the street who are tolerating these individuals. This has to stop right now, before some innocent person is killed or wounded.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Strange Happenings

As I readied for bed this evening, there was quite a chain of events. At about 1130, there was a string of about 6 shots. While this isn't rare in the area, this was very close. It sounded like it was a few blocks away on Lincoln Rd near the community center, if I were to guess. I am sure we will know more tomorrow. As I leaned out the window to see or hear what was going on, there was a three car accident on RI ave and N. Cap 30 seconds later. It made one heckuva crash sound. It appeared that cops responded to both incidents. Hopefully, no one was killed or seriously injured in either event.

Shame on Me-Reader input requested

Some of you may have read my last post about a fraudulent check scam that bit me. That part is shame on them. Now it is shame on me for falling for it again.

Over the past few months, I have done my best to be a good neighbor to the people next door and their child. I purchased food from what I thought was a legitimate fundraiser, to support the son. When the check was cashed, it was very surprising to see that someone had fraudulently altered the check to get additional funds from my bank account. I let that go, figuring that it had to be someone at the school who was altering these checks in a criminal way. I reported this loss to the bank, which may choose to pursue the person who defrauded my account.

A week and a half ago, they sent their son over with a note, asking desperately for money to pay the Pepco bill. Against my better judgment, I did so. Within a few moments, I wrote a check to Pepco so they would have electricity before the final disconnection notice. they subsequently altered this check fraudulently as well and cashed it. I have no way of expressing how disappointed and upset I am.

The question now is what to do. I have come up with two choices, are there more? What would you do?

Ask them to provide me with a complete repayment of both fraudulent checks, in cash ($117 + $140 = $257) in a specific period of time.

or take the copies of both checks to the Metropolitan Police Department for them to investigate the fraud committed against me.

I would imagine that either of these could result in repeccusions, or actions against me by them or their croneys. But something needs to be done. I also plan to ask them to keep their son (who is a good kid, but has sh*tty parents). I find it particularly upsetting that they have used him as an accomplice in efforts to defraud me. What should I do?

Neighbor or Charity

I have been doing my best to be a good neighbor, and a part of the neighborhood. As part of that, I have been friendly to my neighbors all around me, who are wonderful. They pay attention to all the goings on in the hood, and protect our little block. There is give and take, and all is well.

The next door neighbors have a different set of circumstances. They have a very nice young son who is about 9. I talk to him often, say hello and even give him a glass of something to drink once in a while. A couple of weeks ago, they asked me for help with their pepco bill, which was about to be shut off. After much thinking about it, i did help them out. (writing the check to pepco directly). Since that time the little boy has been coming over more often, and asking for food, soda and rides in my car. It hasnt become an issue yet, but I feel that it is necessary to let them know that I am not a charity, or a convenience store. I am planning on finding some small odd jobs for him to do for some extra money, but wonder if he is too young? What should I do, to continue to be friendly, without being taken advantage of?