Editorial:  The Park Police and Bijan Ghaisar

Editorial:  The Park Police and Bijan Ghaisar

by Larry Janezich

June 2, 2020

Yesterday, mounted US Park Police helped federal police and the National Guard push peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square so the president could have a photo op in front of St. John’s church.  The action – which according to witnesses – involved flash grenades, pepper spray and rubber bullets came at the personal directive of Attorney General William Barr.

We have yet to see a major press outlet dive into the record of the Park Police in Washington DC.  As many District residents will remember, on November 17, 2017, officers of the US Park Police killed Bijan Ghaisar.  As citizens across the nation and around the world react to cases of police brutality, one of our own most egregious examples has been largely left out of the picture.

Details of the incident of Ghaisar’s death have been widely reported, as has the account of the stonewalling by US Park Police, the FBI, the Department of Interior and the Department of Justice.  Readers will remember that Ghaisar was rear-ended by an Uber driver near Reagan National airport; he may have been stopped in a traffic lane.  Ghaisar left the scene without providing his information, a misdemeanor charge.  The Uber driver called 911 alerting US Park Police.  The Park Police pulled Ghaisar over twice, and each time he drove off.  At a third stop near Fort Hunt, Park Police approached the car and as Ghaisar began to slowly drive off, they opened fire.  Police fired ten rounds, four of which hit Ghaisar, fatally wounding him.  He died at the hospital ten days later.

The federal government has flouted efforts by members of Congress, the court, and the Ghaisar family to uncover the reasons for the use of lethal force in this instance.

After a two year investigation, then US Attorney for the District Jessie Liu announced the DOJ would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges against the police officers involved in the killing.  The Justice Department blocked FBI agents from testifying when then-Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney Raymond Morrogh planned to seek criminal charges and present the case to a grand jury last December.  The new Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano is pursuing the case.

In March, an Alexandria federal magistrate presiding over a civil case against the park police and the two officers ordered the FBI to turn over the FBI’s files, and a discovery deadline of July 10 has been set. The COV-19 health crisis has prevented deposition, resulting in a further delay.

The officers remain on administrative duty and an internal affairs investigation of the case will begin only after a decision is made by Descano on filing criminal charges.

We’re at 884 days and counting.

Here’s a link to WP coverage, including the disturbing video of the incident:  https://wapo.st/301kNKd

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City Imposes 7:00pm Curfew Tonight and Tomorrow:  Bowser Situational Briefing

Mayor Bowser at today’s Situational Briefing at Judiciary Square

City Imposes 7:00pm Curfew Tonight and Tomorrow:  Bowser Situational Briefing

by Larry Janezich

June 1, 2020

Mayor Bowser and other city officials held a situational briefing this morning at about 11:20am, outdoors at Judiciary Square.  Here are some of the key points from that briefing

  • The curfew put into place last night by will be extended two more nights (Monday and Tuesday). It will begin both nights at 7PM, and extend until 6AM the following morning.
  • Bowser said the city will not allow the continued destruction of our home town – “we support the right to protest – but smashing windows and looting has become the bigger story”.
  • Police Chief Peter Newsham says anyone on the streets after 7:00pm who is not press or essential workers will be taken into custody.
  • Newsham said police were working to identify those responsible for destruction of property and looting and noted there is a $1000 reward for anybody in those categories who can be identified.
  • There were no arrests for gunfire last night. MPD responded to reports of gunfire in Georgetown and gun casings were recovered.  There were no injuries or arrests.
  • Last night the National Guard was in support of the US Park Police but tonight they will have a larger role. MPD is also working with the DEA, FBI, US Park Police, and the US Secret Service.
  • There were 88 arrests last night; 44 were charged with felony rioting and a number with burglary 2. Some arrested for violating the curfew.
  • Those arrested were largely from this area. Names and demographic details will be released.
  • Last night, seven MPD officers suffered minor injuries. Nine MPD vehicles were damaged.
  • Mayor Bowser said that the President’s tweets “harken to days when African Americans were terrorized in this country and that’s all I’m going to say – that language needs to stay in the past.”

 

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The Week Ahead….& Some Photos from the Past Week

Diners returned to Pennsylvania Avenue sidewalk cafes on Saturday afternoon. after Mayor Bowser began reopening the city the day before.

On Wednesday, members of the House mounted the steps to the House Chamber in groups as protection against COV-19.  This was the first vote in the US House of Representatives that permitted voting by proxy.  It was on a bill to condemn gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.

The Capitol Hill BID commissioned a mural for the Eastern Market Metro Plaza near the Metro canopy.

It doesn’t look leased yet, but the former Sizzling Express is being built out into some pretty nice space.

The arches at Union Station on Memorial Day, 2020 – was that only last Monday?

Progress continues on the Eastern Market Metro Park Playground.  Last Wednesday, DGS told the Eastern Market Plaza Advisory Task Force hat the playground project is on track for being substantially complete by June 26. Phase II, which starts this fall, will see construction begin on the remaining parcels 2-6 .  Click to enlarge.

The Week Ahead….& Some Photos from the Past Week

May 31, 2020

by Larry Janezich

Monday, June 1

ANC6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will not meet in June. The Committee usually meets on the first Monday of the month at 7 pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 Second Street NE. 

Tuesday, June 2

The ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee will meet at 7:30 PM. This will be a virtual meeting on the Webex Platform.  Go here to sign on:  https://www.anc6b.org/

Draft Agenda:

Rear 203 3rd Street, SE.  Second story addition to existing alley building. Special exceptions for height and setback requirements. Variance for minimum alley width requirement.

ANC 6B comments on Zoning Case 19-13, text amendments regarding development on alley tax lots.

Formation of ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Subcommittee (to consider community amenities and benefits) on 1333 M Street, SE, PUD.

Wednesday, June 3

The ANC 6B Transportation Committee will meet at 7:00 PM. This will be a virtual meeting on the Webex Platform.  Go here to sign on:  https://www.anc6b.org/

Draft Agenda: 

DDOT Presentation on the Penn Potomac Project.

ANC6B support for closing parking/roads to allow for larger occupancy by restaurants.

The ANC6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee will meet at 6:30pm.  This meeting will be virtual on the Webex Platform.    Go here to sign on:  https://anc6c.org/june-2020-virtual-meeting-details/

Draft Agenda

120 4th Street, NE – Historic Preservation Application of for concept approval for addition at the rear of the property, interior renovations, removal of existing mansard roof and replacement with new parapet on the front facade, modification to the existing parapet, new front porch roof with lower slope, new front gate and railings, and other landscape improvements.

627 Orleans Place, NE – Bureau of Zoning Adjustment Application, as amended, for special exceptions from requirements on lot occupancy, rear yard requirements, to construct a rear deck addition to an existing attached principal dwelling unit.

Proposed changes to zoning regulations for alley lots.  The Office of Planning has proposed amendments to the provisions regulating alley lots (e.g., minimum setbacks from alley center line).

Thursday, June 4

ANC6B Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee:  will not meet in June.

ANC6C Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm.  This will be a virtual meeting on the Webex Platform.   Go here to sign on: https://bit.ly/2MjcXUh

 Draft Agenda:

Maryland Avenue, NE Project.  Neighbors near 3rd and Constitution have noted ongoing concerns related to noise, pounding and COVID risk associated with the Maryland Avenue Safety Project and the Washington Gas Project Pipes work. DDOT will update the Committee on the Maryland Avenue project as well as provide an opportunity for the Committee and neighbors to discuss any coordination concerns. Representatives: Abdullahi Mohamed, DDOT Supervisory Civil Engineer; Chancee Lundy, Maryland Ave outreach team; Nandlal Gevaria, Maryland Ave Project Manager; and Andrew DeFrank, DDOT Ward 6 Community Engagement Specialist.

Friends of Southeast Library will hold a virtual meeting meet at 5:30pm.  Details will be posted when available. 

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Mayor Orders 11:00pm Curfew – Activates National Guard – Restaurants Urged to Pause Dining

This afternoon, Sweetgreen was boarding up its windows.

As was Capitol Hill Liquors.

And the US Capitol was cordoned off.  Click to enlarge.

Mayor Orders 11:00pm Curfew – Activates National Guard – Restaurants Urged to Pause Dining

May 31, 2020

By Larry Janezich

Mayor Bowser is ordering a citywide curfew for the District of Columbia from 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, until 6:00 a.m. on Monday, June 1. She has also activated the DC National Guard to support the Metropolitan Police Department.  https://twitter.com/MayorBowser/status/1267230528002023425.

The Capitol Hill Business Improvement District sent a recommendation to their businesses on behalf of DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) that businesses consider “pausing” all service tonight, specifically outdoor dining.

In addition, the BID says, the Mayor encourages all businesses to remove or to bring inside all patio equipment, planters, construction equipment, supplies, dumpsters, and any other objects that can be removed.

 

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City to Close 7th Street SE Near Eastern Market Four Nights A Week for Fresh Air Dining

City to Close 7th Street SE Near Eastern Market Four Nights A Week for Fresh Air Dining

May 28, 2020

by Larry Janezich

Last night, Shawn Townsend, DC’s Director of Nightlife and Culture, told the Barracks Row Working Group in a virtual meeting,  that plans are being laid to expand the outdoor dining space for restaurants in three parts of the city to help them reopen under the Mayor’s Phase I Reopening Guidelines.  Those guidelines limit restaurant service to outside dining, tables six feet apart, and of six patrons per table.

Townsend said that his office and the Special Events Task Group headed up by Lamont Akins are focusing on a roll out of three specific streets over three upcoming weekends:  June 4 – 7, 18th Street in Adams Morgan; June 11 – 14, the 800 block of Upsur in Petworth; and June 18 – 21, Eastern Market’s 200 and 300 blocks of 7th Street, SE.

Streets would be closed from 3:00pm until midnight on Thursday and Friday, and 11:00am until midnight on Saturday and Sunday.  Outdoor dining space would be extended to the curb and maybe into the streets.

For Eastern Market, the affected restaurants could include Peregrine Espresso, Bullfrog Bagels, Radici, The Eastern, Eat BRGZ, Boxcar, Tunnicliff’s, Prego, Tortilla Café, Acqua Al 2, and 7th Street Hill Café.  (Le Pain Quotidian filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday and hopes to avoid liquidation through a sale to Aurify Brands in a deal that would allow some 35 of its 98 US venues to continue operations.  It is unclear whether the Eastern Market location would be among the 35, should such a deal be consummated.)

Barracks Row has been discussed but closure appears to be unlikely at this time owing to issues presented by bus routes and the Fire Station.

The Barracks Row Working Group, chaired by ANC6B Chander Jayaraman, was formed in 2019 by ANC6B during Jayaraman’s tenure as ANC6B Chair to bring a coordinated ANC/business effort to reverse a downswing in the attractiveness of the Row as a destination.

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The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Week Past

 

The Hill Rag moved out of offices across the street from Eastern Market on April 30.  Capital Community News Managing Editor Andrew Lightman said when the staff had to go home, it made no sense to continue paying rent, especially since the lease was up.  The Rag had been at the location for 35 years.  Lightman says the staff will continue to telework through December, but he hopes to return to the area then, perhaps on the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, or Barracks Row, or even the old digs on 7th Street – if it’s been renovated.

Sam Ford, Bureau Chief at WJLA News, files a post mortem on the demise of Montmartre and 7th Hill Pizza (sans signs).

The Barrack Row 7-11 has closed temporarily and is getting a badly needed renovation.

Construction continues on the New Southwest Library on I Street, SW, a couple of blocks from the DMV Inspection Center, just beyond the under-construction Randall School Arts Center.  The $18 million project will feature 22,000 square feet of public space, providing spaces for reading, a community meeting room, three conference rooms, four study rooms, separate areas for children, teens, and adults, an outdoor reading porch, and an Innovation Lab with 3-D printers.

Last Thursday afternoon, this guerrilla musician jazz trombonist busker appeared at 7th and PA Avenue, SE.  He used his instrument like a shoulder mounted rocket launcher.  You had to appreciate his choreography.

U.S. Capitol was serene at 4:20pm on Sunday afternoon of the Memorial Day weekend.

The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Week Past

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, May 26

ANC6B’s Executive Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm to set the agenda for the June meeting of ANC6B and for committee meetings prior to the full ANC meeting.  There also will be a discussion on whether and how to set up and manage a special 6B grant program during the public emergency. The Executive Committee meeting will be via WebEx and details on joining are on the 6B website, here  https://anc6b.org/

PSA 106 holds a virtual meeting at 6:30pm with Captain Pulliam.  Access the meeting via WebEx, access code 475 902 150 and password BgBnKBQJ795. MPD is expected to give an update on the May 9th shootings at 12th and K Streets, SE.

Thursday, May 28

Virtual Community Meeting to hear the developer of 1333 M Street introduce the Planned Unit Development – 13 story mixed use project – to the community.  For more on the project, see here:  https://bit.ly/3bfQrGt

Zoom meeting info here: https://hklaw.zoom.us/j/98204881679

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Here Are the Farmers Line Vendors Who Will Be at Eastern Market this Weekend, 9:00am – 1:00pm

May 22, 2020

Here Are the Farmers Line Vendors Who Will Be at Eastern Market this Weekend, 9:00am – 1:00pm

Mask and social distancing requirements are in effect.

Saturday:  http://easternmarket-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Saturday-5-23-20.pdf

Sunday:  http://easternmarket-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Sunday-5-24-20.pdf

Here’s a list of Farmer’s bios and contact info – http://easternmarket-dc.org/our-farmers/

For more information, see here:  http://easternmarket-dc.org/

 

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Montmartre and Seventh Hill Pizza Close – Victims of Pandemic Economics

Chef Stephane Lezla at 7th Hill Pizza this afternoon.

Montmartre and Seventh Hill Pizza Close – Victims of Pandemic Economics

May 18, 2020

by Larry Janezich

Montmartre Chef Stephane Lezla, who is Chris Raynal’s business partner in Capitol Hill’s institutions Montmartre and 7th Hill Pizza, confirmed today that the two restaurants are closing permanently. Lezla said, “Continuing doesn’t make sense – we were hit by a perfect storm and lost our best three months – March, April, and May – when we have most of our income. The business lost during the Cherry Blossom Festival is not coming back.” He said everybody had been helpful – the community, the restaurant’s providers, the staff, and the landlord. According to Lezla, “There is no one to blame, it was a decision Chris and I made.” Asked if it were possible they would reopen elsewhere, Lezla said, “Who knows?”

Other sources told CHC that the restaurant had been unable to negotiate a reduction in rent with building owner Stanton Development for the period the restaurants had been and expected to be affected by the pandemic. Likewise, some restaurants on Barracks Row have reported being unable to negotiate lower rents during the shutdown.

CHC reached out to ANC6B Commissioner and candidate for At Large City Council seat, Chander Jayaraman for comment. Jayaraman chairs ANC6B’s Barracks Row Working Group which will meet next Wednesday to discuss legislation proposed by Councilmembers Charles Allen and Mary Cheh that would permit temporary closing of certain streets to allow restaurants to expand their outside serving area to ease operations once the city starts to reopen. That legislation was scheduled to be taken up by the Council on Tuesday, but has been pulled from the agenda at the request of the Mayor.

Jayaraman said, “While COVID-19 continues to threaten the survival of small businesses, I hope property owners are compassionate and understanding of the challenges small businesses face, and will be supportive while these businesses are really hurting.”

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The Week Ahead…& Some #PaintTheStorefronts Photos from the Past Week

Busboys and Poets CEO Andy Shallal started the #PaintTheStorefronts movement to bring an uplifting message to the community after his restaurant in Anacostia was vandalized.  The movement has spread across the DMV.

Artist Luther Wright finishing the mural at 901 H Street, NE. LUTHERWRIGHTART.COM (click to enlarge)

 

Part 1 of a pair of windows at Zatinya on 9th Street, NW.

 

Zatinya, Part 2.

 

UPS Chinatown on Massachusetts Avenue, NW

 

Silo Restaurant, 5th Street, NW

The Week Ahead…& Some #PaintTheStorefronts Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

May 17, 2020

Monday, May 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm

ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm.

NOTE: This meeting will be conducted virtually via WebEx.  Instructions for accessing the meeting via WebEx have been posted under Community Calendar https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Draft agenda:

Discussion of a pilot for closing select streets to non-resident traffic to create additional safe space for outdoor activities. Perhaps by placing simple barriers and signage at cross streets along the routes. Residents, essential workers, emergency service providers, delivery providers, and garbage and recycling collectors would to continue to have vehicle access. A link to the list of proposed Routes is here:  https://anc6a.org/wp-content/uploads/TPSA0520-1.pdf Others may be proposed. Andrew DeFrank of DDOT will be attending the meeting.

Discussion of adding curb extensions to facilitate social distancing on blocks near essential businesses and creating additional space for safe outdoor seating near restaurants.

Monday, May 18, 2020

ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee will meet at 7:00m.

NOTE: This meeting will be conducted virtually via WebEx.  Instructions for accessing the meeting via WebEx have been posted under Community Calendar https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Draft agenda:

Discussion:  Moving forward.

Tuesday, May 19

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm.

NOTE: This meeting will be conducted virtually via WebEx.  Instructions for accessing the meeting via WebEx have been posted under Community Calendar https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Draft agenda:

Duffy’s Irish Pub, 1016 H Street, NE – Discussion of requests for:

    • A modification to the establishment’s settlement agreement and ABRA license to allow live music in the establishment’s beer garden on Friday and Saturday nights;
    • A modification to the establishment’s settlement agreement and ABRA license to allow the establishment to operate 24 hours per day;
    • The designation of two parking spaces on the north side of the 1000 block of H Street NE as No Parking for Pick-Up only; and
    • The designation of a parking space on the north side of the 1000 block of H Street NE for use as outdoor seating.

Wednesday, May 20

ANC6A Economic Development & Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm.

NOTE: This meeting will be conducted virtually via WebEx.  Instructions for accessing the meeting via WebEx have been posted under Community Calendar https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Draft agenda:

909 and 911 I Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application – for special exceptions under the residential conversion requirements, the penthouse height requirements, and to permit a trellis that does not conform with the side building wall setbacks required, to construct two three-story buildings with penthouses.

429 18th Place, NE- Informational session about a Planned Unit Development (PUD) being considered at 429 18th Place, NE.

229 14th Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception from the rear addition requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached principal dwelling unit.

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Hill’s Kitchen, Labyrinth, East City Books and Mr. Henry’s Find a Way

Keith from East City Book Shop brings a load of books to Mr. Henry’s for pickup on Sunday afternoon.

Hill’s Kitchen, Labyrinth, East City Books and Mr. Henry’s Find a Way

May 17, 2020

by Larry Janezich

Three Capitol Hill retail businesses have collaborated with Mr. Henry’s to arrange for patrons to pick up items purchased from the retail shops, otherwise closed by order of the Mayor.  Hill’s Kitchen, Labyrinth, and East City Books will take your on-line purchase order (links below) to Mr. Henry’s, where customers can pick up their purchases Monday – Saturday from 4:00p m – 8:00pm and Sunday, 12:00pm – 8:00pm.

Mr. Henry’s is offering carryout during the same hours, and starts taking orders at 2:00pm.  They also offer delivery in the Capitol Hill Area. To order, call (202)546-8412 – check out the current menu on the website (link below).

Mr. Henry’s hosts a series of “Covid Concerts” to bring patrons live music and entertainment and to support local musicians during this time. A list of upcoming hour long sessions on Facebook are also available on their website.

Hill’s Kitchen  https://www.hillskitchen.com/

Labyrinth https://www.labyrinthgameshop.com/

East City Books https://www.eastcitybookshop.com/

Mr. Henry’s http://www.mrhenrysdc.com/

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