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?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Cost of Going to a game

The Fan Cost Index, Now in its 14th year, it tracks what a typical family of 4 might purchase at a game, tracks the cost, provides the for the trip to the ballgame, and the percentage of increase or decrease from the year prior.

What makes up the FCI? Here’s how it’s broken down:
Two (2) adult average-price tickets
Two (2) child average-price tickets
Two (2) small draft beers
Four (4) small soft drink
Four (4) regular-size hot dogs
Parking for one (1) car,
Two (2) game programs
Two (2) least expensive, adult-size adustable caps.

So, average ticket prices have gone up League-wide by 5.36%, and when the food drink, parking, programs, tickets, and hats come into play, the average went up 4.13% for from the year prior.

Here’s the highs and the lows for those bringing the family to the ballpark this season.

Where will I pay the highest average ticket price? Boston’s Fenway Park. Average ticket price $46.46. FCI is 287.84, an increase of 4.20% from the year prior.

Where’s the least expensive average ticket? Average ticket price $13.71. Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium. FCI is 120.35.

RFK Stadium average ticket price, 20.88, FCI is $169.5

It is very interesting to see that the Nationals, while below the league average, are still higher than playoff caliber teams (Oakland, Cleveland, Florida, Atlanta, Arizona, and Angels) and other brand new ballparks: Cinci, Milwaukee. We should not have to pay the prices that we are paying for a old, outdated stadium, terrible concessions, no owner, a terrible GM, and sub-par players.

Speed Cameras and Psychology

I have the pleasure of travelling daily through a zone patrolled by speed cameras. I dont particularly mind the camera, as it isnt difficult to monitor your speed and ensure you are following the posted speed limit. I generally drive faster than that posted limit. What I have noticed though is interesting. People who approach these zones not only slow down to the posted speed, but often slow down to more than 10 mph slower when approaching the cameras. I suppose this means that the cameras are effective; they have been succesful in changing the behavior of the populace. If fact, if the goal was to reduce speeds to the speed limit, they are exceeding their goal. My guess however is that public safety is not the reason for the cameras, it is revenue.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Over the next week, I will have a houseguest. This will be a great way to see what it will be like to have someone living with me in the house. I have had roommates forever, this is the first time that I have lived alone in years. I enjoy it, but it can be lonely sometimes. As a way to combat that, and to add a little extra coin in my pocket, I am hoping to rent out the second bedroom of my house in the near future. My house guest will be a good guineau pig. Has anyone else done the same? What is the going rate in eckington for a small room? I scanned Craigslist, and there is someone on RI who is asking for $650, but that ad has been up for quite a while. The renter would have full access to the house, and will not have to pay any utilities. I wouls appreciate any ideas you may have.

Police Blotter

From the MPD: Last night there was a homicide in the 2000 block of 3rd Street N.E. There was an arrest for Carrying a Pistol Without a License, and it is believed that the homicide charge should be closed out quickly.

Then we had an Armed Carjacking at 24th and Perry Place N.E. About an hour later the vehicle was spotted at 4th and Franklin Street and fled from our officers. The stayed witht the car until the suspects bailed out int he Third District. One arrest was made but the other suspect(s) got away. We are checking to see if they are related to the robberies and carjacking that occurred yesterday. (I heard on the news this am that the suspect ditched the car in Adams-Morgan, and may be carrying a Tec-9.

Finally Officers Oden and Hinton answered a call for a Theft from Auto at 123 W Street N.W. They caught the subject in the act and tried to arrest him but he resisted. During the struggle Officer Hinton was injured (nothing too serious though). They finally were able to handcuff him. He was charged with Assaulting a Police Officer and First Degree Theft.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Questions on public transportation.

One reader has asked about transportation around Eckington, specifically from RI Ave Metro. I have not used that metrorail station, and thus would like to hear from people who have. Specifically, how safe is the walk back to Eckington from the metro?

From the WMATA website, the busline seems to be the P6, is that correct?

Springtime and Easter

Hope all of you had a wonderful Easter.

It was a great weekend for working in the yard and garden. I spend the majority of the time weeding, watering and mowing grass. The soil is so dry, i cant believe that some of the grass seed I put down is starting to come up in patches. There are even a few signs of sprouting basil in my pot in front. Cant wait for that.

I am really starting to feel like a part of my community. I am getting to know the neighbors and spending lots of time chatting with them. Really, really good people.

We saw the ice cream truck on Sunday! Spring really is here.

Here is a note from the Police: (There was) a robbery involving five teeanage black males driving a white crown victoria. We saw them in PSA 501, 502, 504 and 505 last night. Each time they fled in the vehicle before we could get enough people together to try and stop them. Keep your eyes peeled and if you see this vehicle please call us. We would like to catch them as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Green Team in Shaw and U St Corridor

A $350,000 project approved by the D.C. Council last week will hire and train homeless and low-income District residents to clean the U Street corridor and Shaw neighborhoods in Northwest Washington. Link

This is an interesting concept. It will be interesting to see what the results are. While this is an opportunity to clean up the neighborhood, the longer term effects of the short-term employment on the homeless population will be very limited. Make work programs rarely provide the training necessary for more advancement, and once the money is gone, so are the jobs. It may be valuable to ask Mr. Evans what the outcomes of the program will be for them. Does anyone know of any similar programs (other than the BID, which seems much different)? Will this be open to all homeless people, or just those in Shaw and U St?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Apology Letter

As mentioned last week, there was an article written about the St. Martin's project in the Washington Post. The article was a bit sensational, and people on both sides feel that their comments were either taken out of context, or ended up on the cutting room floor.

Attached is an apology letter by Father Kelly.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ward 3 Activism

Interesting article on proposed development, and neighborhood activism against it.

I used to live in Ward 3, in several different neighborhoods including tenleytown and friendship heights. This article struck a chord with me for several different reasons:

-There are similarities between Ward 5 and 3. We want smart growth, reasonable development, and attention to traffic and green space. Gargantuan developments are not the answer. If you want those, move to Ballston.

-While much can be said about the socio-economic differences between our wards and the influence of the people that live in each, I am very impressed with the sticktoitivness of the people there. They have fought that tower since day one. 5 years is a long time. It also is most likely the reason there are no PUDs going in over there on Reno Rd or at the Martens VW.

-How can we build on the activism that has already sprouted in Eckington? People in our neighborhood are smart, driven and dedicated. What does it take to bring the neighborhood together as a bloc? Granted, the area mentioned in the article is upper NW where there is a tremendous amount of homogeneity and rampant NIMBYism, but can we be as successful in shaping the way our neighborhood is developed?

-Lastly, I loved this quote, "The Office of Planning considers quality of life of neighborhoods the most important principle," said the agency's head, Ellen McCarthy. "[We are] constantly accused of promoting these smart-growth principles only to create revenue for the District. Nothing could be further from the truth."



Here are just a few random things for this am:

-My yard is a disaster. Have been trying to plant grass seed in the barespot in the front yard, buried a drainage tube and pulling weeds. There is red clay, piles of dirt, and weeds all throughout my yard. it looks like a construction zone. (it did feel satisfying to get that done in Saturdays rain though)

-KFC sign is back up, although it still looks a little crooked.

-there is fresh gray paint going up on the Savemore Supermarket building.

-Tulips are coming up on the triangle "corner" of Lincoln and NCap.

-There is a big ole dead tree on our block that the neighbors and I are concerned about. any one of those branches would destroy someones car, porch or roof.

-Public works fixed the lamp at the end of the street. Not because of my call, but because they were asked nicely by my neighbor.

-Lots of houses in the hood for sale, lots and lots.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Baseball Fever

This is a non-eckington post, but I have to divulge a little bit of information about myself. I am a baseball fan. The grand game that is part sport, part chess, and slow enough that you can enjoy a hot dog and a beer, is back.

I am a Red Sox fan by birth, and continue to be a nearly rabid fan. As is tradition for me now, I attend the first Sox-Orioles game at Camden Yards each year. So tonight marks the begining of the season for me. It also marks one of the few times each year that i am willing to brave either the traffic, or the MARC to spend my hard earned money on Peter Angelos and the sorry team that he pretends to field each year.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of going to Baltimore. Thus I was only slightly less enthusiastic than Thomas Boswell about getting a team here in DC. Their arrival has been wonderful. I attend about 15-20 games a year at RFK, and the Nats are my "National Leauge team". I will have the pleasure of playing hookey on Tuesday to watch the hometown club play.

Bottom Line, I am excited and still feel like a little kid just before seeing my first game at Fenway Park. Go Sox, Go Nats!

Legal Problems

Many of you were as shocked as I was to hear that an elementary school student had brought a loaded gun to Emery Elementary school in Eckington. The mother was charged with the gun violation, which now seems to be in jeopardy. Check out the Washington Post article

The understatement of the week is from the judge in the case; "Even as he ruled in Williams's favor, Goodbread had little good to say about her actions, calling her conduct "stupid and potentially tragic."

I understand that the law is the law, and having technicalities are there to protect all of us, but this seems to be crazy. Hopefully, there will be a just outcome to this case, one that wont encourage people to violate the gun laws in DC, and endanger the kids of our schools.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Big Time Newspaper is Catching on.

Below is the text of the Washington Post article on the battle between St. Martin's proposed development, and (us) the concerned residents of Eckington.

Tensions Boil Over Affordable HousingNE Neighbors Protest Plan to Turn Former Convent Into Large Apartment Building

By Robert E. PierreWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, April 6, 2006; DZ01

St. Martin's Catholic Church is proud that for more than a century it has worked to save souls, battle crime and build up those who have the least.

So with rents and housing prices rising everywhere, church leaders thought it was only natural that they replace its aging convent, now populated by the formerly homeless, with something that many agree is a pressing need: affordable housing.

But their proposal to build a 184-unit apartment building has met stiff resistance. Neighbors closest to the project question its size, the income limits for families that would live there and whether such a project would be better someplace else.

As a result, neighborhoods including Bates, Bloomingdale and Eckington, where the new apartments are planned, are awash with charges of hypocrisy, classism and racism -- the result of a continuing rift over gentrification. It's playing out on neighborhood listservs, at civic meetings and at St. Martin's, where the pastor, the Rev. Michael Kelly, has an acerbic tongue and a chastening tone for some of his neighbors.

"The opposition is being led by new whites who think they can take control of the neighborhood," said Kelly, who is white. "It's about class and money and fear."
Opponents bristle at his characterizations. Some of those opponents are black. Some have lived in the community a few months or a few years, others for decades. All contend that no matter how long they've lived in the community, their views are relevant.

"Those who label us as anti-affordable housing are not listening to our concerns," said Joe Lilavois, a four-year District resident who lives next to the site and has organized several of his neighbors to get the plans changed. "We're anti-big, big development. This project is huge for this neighborhood."
St. Martin's, which touts its working-class roots, is n ear the intersection of North Capitol Street and Rhode Island Avenue, an area once filled with rooming houses that has undergone significant transformation in recent years. Housing prices have escalated, and homes in the $400,000 and $500,000 range are standard.

Some people who lived through the dark days when crack-related killings were the norm are glad to see old houses made new again and slight signs of rebirth in business corridors that had long been ceded to run-down liquor stores and carryouts.
But change has not come easily. Some such as Kelly, who has been at St. Martin's for 14 years, chafe at what they consider intolerance on the part of newer residents who complain about issues including church parking on Sundays, unsightly awnings on businesses and, most recently, "ghetto mesh" -- steel grating -- installed across a drycleaner's windows to prevent theft.
Then there's the issue of housing prices, which were viewed with glee when homes nearby were selling for higher and higher amounts and with nervousness in recent weeks and months as houses stayed on the market longer

The developer who has partnered with St. Martin's, Neal Dobrenare, said that concern is at the root of the controversy."A lot of people paid too much for their houses, and they're worried about any and everything," said Dobrenare, a former chief operating officer for the District's Department of Housing and Community Development. "But this is a $28 million investment. This is affordable housing. It's not cheap housing."

The project, at 116 T St. NE, is a joint venture between St. Martin's, which is providing the land, and Catholic Community Services. The two-acre property is across the street from McKinley Technology High School. Plans call for the aging structure to be demolished and replaced with a 184-unit apartment building. The proposed structure, opponents said, would dwarf what's on the site now.

There would be 134 one- and two-bedroom apartments renting to families earning $30,000 to $54,000, depending on family size. Fifty "junior one-bedroom" apartments, according to St. Martin's, would rent to the formerly homeless with an income of roughly $18,000 a year. Rents would range from $500 to $1,039 a month, amounts aimed at working families and retirees, church officials said.

One of the major sticking points for critics is that all of the units will have below-market rents. They're pushing for 30 percent of the units to be market rate. Even though houses are selling for half a million dollars, Eartha Isaac, who has lived in Eckington for several years, said the neighborhood has been unable to attract businesses to support those houses because the latest census numbers show the area's median income is $43,000.

"We're not there yet," she said, noting that the community needs to continue attracting people with higher incomes as well as those who need affordable housing. "We want the same things that other communities have."

St. Martin's has secured much community backing for the project, collecting hundreds of signatures of support from residents and organizations and turning them over to various city offices reviewing the project. But Isaac and others contend that much of that support comes from people who would not have to live next to the site and that many are St. Martin's parishioners who live in Maryland.

"It's easy for them to tell us what we ought to have in our community," she said.
For Adam Benzing, the biggest issue is the apartment building's size. He has lived in the District for three years and bought a rowhouse across from the proposed complex last fall. The current plan calls for the façade of the building to resemble a series of rowhouses, to lessen neighbors' concern. That doesn't do it for Benzing. He'd rather the church and its partner build townhouses -- even with the same income requirements -- on the site. That would keep the project less dense and require no change in the zoning.

The church's plans would require a rezoning to allow a denser use. A zoning hearing has not been scheduled, but church leaders hope it will occur this summer.

Plans call for construction to be completed 18 months after all clearances are granted.
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission for the area has given its preliminary approval for the project, which is supported by D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange Sr. (D-Ward 5).
"St. Martin's is trying to paint everybody as anti-affordable housing," said Benzing, 26, who is taking postgraduate classes before entering medical school. "That's not the issue at all. I know most of my neighbors. But I think there's a different relationship with a large apartment building."

Benzing said it's "unfortunate" that Kelly, the St. Martin's pastor, has injected race and class into the debate and hired a professional communications firm to print glossy fliers instead of just meeting with residents to resolve the matter. He also hates that racially charged comments have been directed at opponents.

"There's not been a lot of honest dialogue on this," he said, rejecting the idea that opponents do not want to live next to black people. "That's very unfortunate. This is a black community, and I'm one of two whites who live on this block. By framing the issue that way, they're trying to silence discussions."

Earl Washington lived on Quincy Place, a few blocks from the apartment building site, for 60 years before selling his home more than a year ago and moving to a retirement community near Upper Marlboro. But he misses the District and said he wants to come back to an apartment complex like the one that's planned.

He owned a deli underneath his Quincy Place home for 35 years and is distressed that people fear there will be too many low-income residents in the neighborhood.
"The price that a person can afford to pay to reside in any area does not dictate the character of that person," said Washington, 65, who is still attends church at St. Martin's. "I can pay a million dollars for a home and I might be an axe murderer."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


As many websites have mentioned, the McMillan Sand Filtration site has been transferred to the National Capital Revitalization Corporation. This huge tract of land has sat idle for many many years, and may be a huge opportunity for Development in NW/NE DC.

In my last post I questioned how can competing interests combine into a successful development of the H St corridor. In this case, the stakes may be even higher as developers and the city have the opportunity to really create a vision from the ground up. Will this be a way to truly integrate mixed income housing, (low, mid and high incomes), retail, and green space? The potential for this area is nearly limitless. I hope that those who know more about development and city planning will provide some insight and opinions. (Richard Layman, this means you).

Cleopatra Jones is enthusiastic that up to 300-500 'affordable' housing units could be made in this area. I admire her caring for those less fortunate, and providing places for people to live without being displaced due to rising housing costs. Hopefully she will also be on-board for doing the development intelligently.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

How is balance achieved?

Please review this article from the post on H St NE. It brings up interesting points, from different views. What is progress, and how does the history and make-up of an area get woven into the "new and improved" area? I dont want to see H st, or NorthCap become Reston town center. But improvement would be nice, sit down restaurants would be nice.

How do we balance competing interests?
Here we go again. I have stayed out of the arguments on the St. Martins PUD project for the most part. The following letter was sent from Father Kelly of St. Martins, to an obviously receptive Commissioner Jones.

There seems to be a few things that confuse me. One is the ongoing debate between what is the role of the Eckington Civic Association and the Edgewood Association. It seems that St. Martins and The commish, are choosing one over the other to suit their needs. I wonder why Ms. Jones is such a proponent of this project? Perhaps at some point we should all learn who has what to gain in this project. Mr. Drobenare, obviously has quite a bit to gain, between being the developer and getting LIHC grants.

I have spoken to Mr. Liliavois in the past, and the last thing that he is a person who is discriminatory against economic strata. If he says what the letter contends, it was most certainly out of context, or perhaps said out of frustration. I am part of the 200 Club, those residents that will be most affected by the development, and the group that the DC Office of Planning has mandated that must be involved in this process. I like most of the other people I have spoken with, are NOT against affordable housing, and mix-use. We are not against St. Martins or CCS. We do however expect that development will be done in a smart way, limiting the negative effects that have been associated with low-income developments. I also believe that CCS can achieve their goals without creating a 184 unit monstrocity, built in the middle of a tight community of multicultually owned rowhouses, and adjacent to two schools and another homeless shelter. Smart growth has generally been reserved for city managers in the burbs trying to reduce strip mall hell, but in this case, we all need to think about the hood, and what the ramafications of these developments will be.

Here is the text of the letter.

Thank you for sharing Ms. Lilavois posting from the Eckington egroup in which CCS/St. Martin's is accused of promoting economic segregation and for your request that we address this issue publicly. Clearly, this neighbor is aware that St. Martin's Apartments will be economically integrated with market rate, affordable and workforce housing. We agreed to include a market rate component as a concession in response to a request from members of the Eckington Civic Association and Ms. Lilavois was present when we made this agreement; so, this accusation is baffling. We announced it at the Feb. 20 Eckington Civic Association (ECA) meeting, again on Feb. 26 in a private meeting to negotiate an MOU with the ECA leadership, which Mr. Lilavois and again on March 20 in the attached Memorandum of Understanding that we signed with the Edgewood Civic Association, and the Ecumenical Council and distributed to Mr. Lilavois, the three hundred people who attended the community meeting and the media. Thank you for posting this MOU on the ECA egroup.

CCS and St. Martin’s believe in a mixed income neighborhood, which is why this workforce and affordable housing development is being proposed. Moreover, residents of the building will be full civic participants in a neighborhood, whose housing values and income levels will continue to grow. This is in keeping with the Ford Foundation’s findings supporting mixing income groups and cultural and class integration. Of note, people who initially meet income guidelines will be able to stay in the building even after their income rises above those initial limits.

With townhouses surrounding the apartment site selling for a half million dollars and up, the neighborhood will soon be affordable only to upper middle-income people. Recently, Mr. Lilavois mentioned to Neal Drobenare and me that he would prefer to have "rich folks across the street". While we respect his right to his opinion, it is not one we share. We are committed to providing housing to working folks. By having the last available unbuilt site reserved primarily for affordable workforce housing insures that the neighborhood will be economically integrated and truly a mixed income neighborhood.

The Districtâ's median income is $46,000. We are serving primarily people between $30K and 54K, i.e., the District's median. Rather than creating segregation as Ms. Lilavois suggests, our development continues to preserve an economically and socially integrated neighborhood. We are not developing a building in isolation; but creating homes for individuals and families who will be fully integrated into the neighborhood.

Further, the Neighborhood Steering Committee, which Mr. Lilavois is a part of, will oversee tenant selection guidelines to ensure that the criterion, which has been established,is implemented. All tenants of St. Martins Apartments will be fully employed, have good credit and have a housing good reference.

Our design, which provides that the units on Todd place have doors directly on the street helps to promote interaction with the immediate neighborhood and the community at large. Curiously, it was at the Lilavois insistence that we initially removed all entrances from Todd Place; however, we have received input from other neighbors, which has caused us to rethink this. In fact, an officer of the Eckington Civic Association, JT Engelheart, indicates that ECA believes there should be entrances from the ground floor units on Todd Place and we remain committed to working with the civic association's, which represents the entire neighborhood. Apparently, most of the people living in Edgewood and Eckington want neighbors not walls.

As always, we remain committed to working with the Lilavois and all of the neighbors in the Edgewood/Eckington neighborhood. People can feel free to continue communicating through their email groups, call me directly at 202.316-6451, email me directly at or at We look forward to working together toward a shared community vision.


Father Michael J. Kelley
St. Martins Catholic Church


This is the only word that can be used to describe the weather front that moved in last night. Looking up as i departed VA, the weather front divided the nearly clear azure blue sky with a sinister black wave of clouds. It was incredible. you could see nearly the entire storm front, a diagonal line of evil weather coming from the WSW. If only I had my camera. It got even more interesting. As i crossed the Memorial Bridge, the whole river was covered in the black from the storm, but the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument were still under the pale blue sky. I have never wanted to stop my car in its tracks and take a photo more than right then. but alas, commitment to safety won out.

this one is taken from this website,

We really needed the rain, and thankfully, my newly planted grasseed was not washed away.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Broken Streetlight

This weekend someone broke the globe and lightbulb from the streetlight on First and Todd Pl. I have called the city call center to report it, lets see how quickly it is fixed.

No idea who did it, but my guess is that it has something to do with the people that hang out near the Lincoln St. Mkt. I have never actually seen them do anything wrong, but wouldnt be surprised if there is some dealing going on.

In a related note, the nice weather also brings out other dealers it seems. thought i saw something going down on U st on Sat. by the time i got in to make a call, they were gone.

-Non Sequitor- I drove down to 16th and U NW yesterday, and was shocked to see that the church on the right side had "legally" double parked two whole blocks! this cut the westbound U st to only one lane. And some of us think we have it bad. Can you imagine being blocked in by that?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Honeymoon is Over

After a couple of months of no problems, things are starting to happen. As you read in the last post, there was a fraudulent check, which the bank is taking its time to fix. Now my complacency has started to cost me. Rather than taking the few moments to take in my yard tools last weekend, i left out my shovel, two rakes and my broom. Yesterday i attempted to start reseeding my lawn, in an area that was completly bare. I went to go find the rake, and realized that it had gotten legs and walked off along with the other implements. I have no one to blame but myself. Add this to the lesson learned.

The nicest man on the block passed away last week. He was referred to as "The Mayor" of our street. He had lived in the house across the street for the last 55 years. He watched out for everyone, and was a tremendous man. God bless his soul, and thoughts out to his family.

In some good news; I continue to meet more and more of the neighbors. They are some really great people. I got more info on the block, who lives where and what their story is. I love it here. Some new folks moved in up the street, will have to welcome them later today.

Having a yard is agreat thing, but it does take a lot of effort. If only I had the motivation that Mari from InShaw has toward her gardening. Other than the grass, there is weeding to do, and i plan to make an herb garden. I love to cook, and always need basil, parsely and other herbs. Going to the store costs way to much and then they spoil too fast.