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.