Monthly Archives: March 2012

Grassroots Effort Pushes Ban on Corporate Contributions to Local Pols -Ballot Initiative for November Election Sought


Grassroots Effort Pushes Ban on Corporate Contributions to Local Pols -Ballot Initiative for November Election Sought

 by Larry Janezich

DC Public Trust is heading up a grass roots campaign to get corporate cash out of local elections.  The effort, initiated by Former Ward 1 At-Large D.C. Council candidate Bryan Weaver and Ward 7 ANC Commissioner Sylvia Brown , will require over 22,000 signatures from registered voters across the city, 4,000 from Ward Six.  Currently, District law allows corporate contributions up to $500 for ward races, $1,000 for at-large and $2,000 for mayor per year but corporations can exceed those limits by “bundling” contributions from individuals and subsidiary companies.  The proposed initiative would ban corporations and other business entities from making direct contributions to politicians or their campaign, legal defense, and inaugural committees, or their constituent-service programs. 

It is not clear that the initiative will completely fix what has been described as the “pay to play culture” characterizing the relationship between DC city government and the business community.  Corporations have been resourceful in finding ways to help elect city officials in excess of the limit of law.  An equally important area needing reform is transparency in campaign financing.  Currently, considerable effort is required to search through the Office of Campaign Finance’s online records which go back to 2000.

ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate is supporting the effort.  He says “We’re looking for volunteers to gather signatures at various civic events, with a focus on the April 3rd primary election.  People can contact co-Ward 6 coordinators Justin Unger  (       or Nathaneal Hill ( to sign up for shifts on the April 3rd at polling places throughout the Ward, or to get involved at other times.  We are, of course, also looking for signatures on the ballot petition.” 

The language of the proposed initiative is as follows:

“The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012”

This initiative, if passed, would prohibit corporations and other business entities from making direct contributions to principal campaign committees, exploratory committees, legal defense committees organized in support of public officials, transition committees, inaugural committees, or constituent-service programs.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE ELECTORS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the “Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012.”

Sec. 2 It shall be unlawful for a corporation, limited liability company, or partnership to make any contribution to a principal campaign committee, exploratory committee, legal defense committee, transition committee, inaugural committee, or constituent-service program

Sec. 3 To the extent that the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability Establishment and Comprehensive Ethics Reform Amendment Act of 2011 (Enrolled version of Bill 19-511, passed by the District of Columbia Council on December 20, 2011) takes effect prior to the effective date of this Initiative, this Initiative shall be deemed and construed to repeal any provision of that Act that conflicts with this Initiative.

Sec. 4 Fiscal impact statement.

Sec. 5 Effective date. This act shall take effect after a 30-day period of Congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206 (c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register

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Eastern Market Committee Votes For Weekday Farmers’ Line – New Market Expected To Be Operational By May

Eastern Market Committee Votes For Weekday Farmers’ Line – New Market Expected To Be Operational By May

by Larry Janezich

Prodded by ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) voted tonight to direct Market Manager Barry Margeson to establish a weekday farmer’s market.  The unanimous vote came on a motion offered by Committee member Tom Kuchenberg.

The farmer’s line will be in accordance with the current law governing Eastern Market, which gives some of the weekend farmers and produce providers  the right of first refusal on spaces.  Margeson was further directed to seek out organic and local producers for the market in so far as spaces are available.  The conventional wisdom is that there will be plenty of space to accommodate any organic or local producer who wishes to sell during the week.

Margeson has the flexibility to determine which day would work best, and has stated that Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday would work.  David Fowler, a local farmer in tonight’s audience whose family has sold at the Market since 1873, noted that it will be June or July before local produce from this growing season will be available.  Margeson has had expressions of interest from two produce providers, even before making any attempt to solicit produce vendors.  He regularly has to turn away produce sellers seeking space on the weekends.

EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder stated flatly that she expects the new market to be in operation by the next meeting of EMCAC on May 2nd.   She said the message of tonight’s action is “we want a weekday farmers’ market, we want it now, we want additional producers and growers in a weekday farmers’ line….in early May, we’ll walk down the street on a weekday and see farmers.”

The weekday farmer’s line has been discussed for ten years and for a few moments tonight, it appeared that the proposal would be referred to a committee for additional discussion.  Pate pushed to have a vote tonight, saying he supported organic produce to help make the weekday market unique and to increase the quality of the produce, though he said he was ok with aggregators or those who retail but do not produce their own produce.  EMCAC will review what essentially a pilot program is periodically and make adjustments as necessary.

In a related matter, a representative from Councilmember Tommy Wells’ office announced that Wells’ office was hoping to set a date tomorrow for a public hearing on the legislation to provide a new governing structure for Eastern Market.  The legislation is being tweaked and is likely to be released in the next few days.


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The Week Ahead ….

The Week Ahead ….

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, March 27

ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

CHRS Community Forum meets at 7:00pm at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Ave, NE.  Historic Preservation Review Board Chair Catherine Buell speaks on working of HPRB.  (Former CHRS Board Member and Historic Preservation Chair Nancy Metzger was recently appointed to the HPRB by Mayor Gray)

Wednesday, March 28

7:00pm at a place TBD.  ANC6B Hine Subcommittee Working Group on Retail for the Hine Development meets to continue working on recommendations.  Latest details on the Stanton Eastbanc retail plan will be discussed.  Recommendations will be forwarded to ANC6B for their April 10 meeting. 

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) meets at 7:00pm in Eastern Market North Hall.

Office of Planning hosts meeting on making the 11th Street Bridge a recreational area.  6:30-8:00 pm at the DC Office of Planning, 1100 4th Street, SW. 

Thursday, March 29

ANC6B Subcommittee on Hine PUD meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to consider recommendations on the Hine project design, retail plan, and open space plan.

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Stanton/Eastbanc Unveils New Drawings, Initiates Marketing Plan

Stanton/Eastbanc Unveils New Drawings, Initiates Marketing Plan

by Larry Janezich

Hine project developer Stanton/Eastbanc has unveiled architect Amy Weinstein’s new drawings changing design elements of the Hine Redevelopment in response to concerns raised by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).  The Board will hold a hearing to review the new plans – possibly in April.  The project is currently working its way through the PUD process to change the zoning to accommodate the project’s greater height and density.  That process will conclude with a series of hearings before DC’s Zoning Commission, likely in June.

Because of the size of the images on the website make assessing the degree of change difficult to assess.  The drawing can be viewed here:

Stanton/Eastbanc has given a face lift to their website which initiates a marketing plan and solicits expression of interest from potential residential, retail, and commercial interest.  The site reveals that the residences will comprise studios, one bedrooms, one bedrooms plus den, two bedrooms, two bedrooms plus den, three bedrooms, and penthouses in a price range from $500,000 to $3,000,000.  Potential buyers are asked to register their interest in amenities, including a business center, conference room, private party room, exercise room, and rooftop pool.  The link to the website is here:

The website also list new additions to the Stanton/Eastbanc development team.  In addition to previous associates Dantes Partners (counselors on affordable housing), and Esocoff Associates (architect), the site list AutoPark, Inc., the Jarvis Company (government relations, permit acquisition, and zoning counseling); and L.S. Caldwell & Associates (contracting and employment compliance).

ANC 6B’s Hine Subcommittee will meeting on Thursday, March 29, at Hill Center to review its recommendations regarding design, open space, and retail plan recommendations.

ANC6B’s schedule on the Hine Development is as follows.  Details will be posted on this blog the week of the event.

April 3             Planning and Zoning Committee considers recommendations on full amenities  and benefits list, mitigation list and recommendations to HPRB. Stanton/Eastbanc may make a presentation regarding the new drawings at this  meeting.

April 10           ANC6B considers recommendations from Planning and Zoning Committee

April 26           Hine Subcommittee meeting on tentative agreements with developers

May 1              Potential action on agreements from Planning and Zoning Committee

May 8              Potential action on agreements from the ANC

May/ June       Possible Hine Subcommittee and ANC special call meeting to    prepare for Zoning Commission hearing

Late June         Likely beginning of Zoning Commission hearing


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Mayor Says Hill East Redskins Camp “Is Not a Plan – It’s a Conversation”

Councilmembers Michael Brown, Jack Evans, and Mayor Gray

ANC Commissioners From Wards Six and Seven. Hill East Resident Commissioner Jared Critchfield (second from right) Chairs ANC6B

300 Residents Turn Out For Community Meeting

Mayor Gray Meets Wards Six and Seven Residents On Redskins Training Camp

Mayor Says Hill East Redskins Camp “Is Not a Plan – It’s a Conversation”

by Larry Janezich

Mayor Vincent Gray told 300 residents of Ward 6 and Ward 7 that the idea of bringing a Redskins training camp to Reservation 13 “is not a plan – it’s a conversation.”  The community meeting, sponsored jointly by ANCs in Wards Six and Seven, was held in DC Armory, near Reservation 13.  Last fall, the redistricting process placed Reservation 13 in Yvette Alexander’s Ward 7, most of which lies east of the river, a change from its previous, contiguous location in Ward Six. 

Ward Six residents in the neighborhoods adjacent to Reservation 13 are largely opposed to siting a Redskins training facility there, preferring the long-stalled plans for city buildings, retail, and residential complexes. 

Mayor Gray said that DC joined the conversation about a new Redskins training facility in DC after learning that Virginia and Maryland each had proposals on the table for a training facility within their boundaries.  Gray added that he had visited the Tampa in 2011 to take a look at what was reportedly the finest training facility in the country.  The Washington Times reported that Gray and was accompanied on that trip by Councilmembers Evans and Michael Brown.

Gray said that visit to Tampa resulted in consideration of what a Redskins training facility might include: fields, a training facility, a Redskin’s hall of fame, a hotel and a medical center.  He went on to say that “nobody wants to bring out something that is half-baked,” and noted that one reason there have been no community meetings on the plan was that, “we’ve had nothing to present – and there is still nothing to present.”

The Mayor went on to tell the crowd what would have to happen before a training facility could be brought to the site of Reservation 13:  both the DC Master Plan and the DC Comprehensive Plan would have to be modified, each being brought first to the community and then passed by the City Council.  Then the site would have to be re-zoned in public hearings before the Zoning Commission.  “To the extent people are concerned about this; there is no way anything could be moved through the back door,” Gray told the gathering.

He went on to say that the city needs a catalyst to jump start Hill East – “I don’t know what it is,” he admitted, “but we’ve been focusing on economic development and will continue to focus on economic development.”

Gray also said that Reservation 13 is not the only place “we’ve looked at for a training facility,” and summing up, the mayor said, “There is no plan.  I have a desire to bring the Redskins back to DC.  If we work together that will happen.  But we need to work together rather than fighting over a non-existent plan.”

City Officials turned out in force for tonight’s meeting, which in addition to the Mayor featured Councilmembers Michael Brown, Jack Evans, Yvette Alexander, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins, City Administrator Allen Lew, former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, and more than a dozen ANC Commissioners from Wards Six and Seven.  Councilmember Wells was reported to be travelling.


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Neighbors Rally to Save Historic Church Windows – Historic Preservation Runs Up Against Religious Freedom

Epworth Church, 7th and A Streets, NE

Neighbors Rally to Save Historic Church Windows – Historic Preservation Runs Up Against Religious Freedom

by Larry Janezich

Last October, when the World Mission Society Church of God bought the historic Epworth Episcopal Church South, located at 700 A Street NE, it was reasonable to assume the transition from one place of worship to another would be routine.  That notion ended earlier this spring when neighbors noticed that several of the building’s stained glass windows had been removed, despite the historic nature of the those windows, and apparently without first consulting ANC6C or the Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

Complaints to the HPO resulted in an investigation that confirmed that this was indeed the case, and the office ordered the new owners to restore the windows to their original locations.

The owners complied but, according to HPO, several panes of stained glass were broken in the process and one of the largest was re-installed precariously without its wooden frame.

Built in 1895 and dedicated in 1896, Epworth Episcopal Church originally had stained glass windows featuring simple floral designs.  The church suffered extensive damage in a 1919 fire, and apparently many of the current windows date to a 1921 restoration.

The new owners of the church, the World Mission Society Church of God, have filed an application with the HPO to remove the windows and replace them with clear glass – according to the HPO staff report – out of “concerns related to freedom of religion, lead safety, and energy efficiency.”

The HPO staff report recommends the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) advise the Mayor’s Agent – who will decide the issue if an adverse HPRB decision is appealed – that the application “for replacement of the existing stained glass windows with clear glass is not consistent with the purposes of the preservation law or with the window standards included in the preservation regulations.”  ANC6C and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society have likewise put their opposition on the record.

Even if the Mayor’s Agent were to agree with a denial by HPRB of the permit, the new owners could appeal to the federal courts, who would decide if the First Amendment should yield to historic preservation law.   The fact that the World Society has hired a lawyer for the opening stages of the permit process indicates that they are prepared to do take their case to other venues.

Wikipedia notes that the World Mission Society Church of God was founded by Ahn Sahng-hong in 1964 and maintains its headquarters in Korea.  The church claims 1.45 million members worldwide and has come under criticism for deviating from mainstream Christian beliefs.  It is active in many volunteer services and welfare activities throughout the world.

HPRB has put the case on its agenda for its meeting on Thursday, March 22, at 441 4th Street, NW, Room 220 South.  The meeting starts at 9:00am.


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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

March 19, Monday

ANC6B Hill East Task Force meets holds a panel discussion at 7:00pm on the history of Reservation 13.  Mayor Gray meets with Hill East residents on Reservation 13 on Thursday at the Armory. 

March 20, Tuesday

The ANC6B Hine Subcommittee meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center on mitigation amenities and benefit issues. 

March 20, Tuesday

CHRS Board Meeting, open to CHRS members, 6:30pm Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street.

March 20, Tuesday

Ward 6 At-Large Candidates Forum, 7:00pm – 8:30pm at Brent Elementary School.

March 22, Thursday

Meeting with Mayor Gray on Reservation 13, 7:00pm  – 9:00pm at DC Armory.  Security will be in effect, so you will need photo ID to enter the building.

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ANC6B Endorses Wednesday Farmer’s Line at Eastern Market – Could Be in Operation this Summer

ANC6B Endorses Wednesday Farmer’s Line at Eastern Market – Could Be in Operation this Summer

by Larry Janezich

At Tuesday night’s ANC6B meeting, the ANC endorsed a tentative plan by Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson to have a mid-week farmer’s line at Eastern Market.

Commissioner Brian Pate, the ANC’s representative to the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), reported to the Commission that a plan is in the works to open the new farmer’s line, possibly this season.  Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, in whose single member district the Market lies, said “this is a great idea, long overdue.”

Margeson is reportedly waiting for EMCAC to sign off on the idea, but it seems likely they will approve the plan.  EMCAC  will next meet on Wednesday, March 28 in the market’s North Hall.

The ANC vote was 8 – 0 – 1, with Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Francis Campbell abstaining until more details regarding how parking for vendors and patrons are available.


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Weekend Flea Market to be Much Reduced by Stanton Eastbanc Hine Development

Weekend Flea Market to be Much Reduced by Stanton Eastbanc Hine Development

by Larry Janezich

No matter what happens, the Eastern Market weekend flea market will be smaller in the future.

Competing interests of the city, the developer, and Eastern Market have put the squeeze on the weekend flea markets and the vendors who operate outside the market on weekends.   Stanton Eastbanc’s current development plans do not allow for a full weekend flea market, and the city has no immediate or obvious plans to either compel the developer to make room for the flea market or to create a new home for it that will accommodate its current size.

One of the requirements for all the contractors who bid for the Hine development was that “sufficient space” for the flea market had to be provided.  The original Stanton Eastbanc plan for the development which got the nod from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development would have provided 90 spaces for vendor’s tents on the newly reopened C Street, and on a square plaza centrally located within the project and set back from the middle of the newly opened C Street.

After the project was awarded to Stanton Eastbanc, the size of the project increased and the space for the flea market was shrunk.  Currently the plan provides for space for 68 vendor tents on C Street.  The plaza – originally touted as vendor space – currently appears to be reserved for public space including water features and café seating (which is proprietary and not public space).

Most people don’t realize that the weekend outdoor market comprises three entities:  the food and non-food vendors outside Eastern Market, on 7th Street and on the natatorium plaza under control of Barry Margeson, Eastern Market manager; the Saturday flea market on the Hine playground, managed by Carol Wright; and the Sunday flea market, managed by Diverse Market Management, owned by Michael Berman.  The popular weekend market attracts up to 30,000 visitors and supports up to 150 vendor tents on a good weekend, according to Berman.

Councilmember Tommy Wells is currently re-writing legislation establishing a Trust which will be the new governing authority for Eastern Market, including the weekend flea markets.  The legislation – which may be revealed within days – will likely provide for consolidating the management of the three outdoor markets under the Trust.  The goal of the Market is to be self-sustaining within ten years, and it is difficult to imagine a scenario that will allow it to be so without consolidating control of the weekend market and using vendor fees toward that end.  Currently, the two flea market managers each pay $24,000 annually to the city to rent the Hine parking lot on weekends, and they in turn charge individual vendors for space on the weekends.

In addition to concern over the number of vendor tents accommodated under current plans, Michael Berman calls Stanton Eastbanc’s proposal for parking 50 vendor trucks in the development’s parking garage problematic, noting that many of his vendors deal with large pieces and that access to C Street for set up with be limited to one small service elevator.

In an apparent attempt to salvage the current weekend flea market’s size and diversity, Councilmember Wells has floated the option of closing 7th Street on weekends to accommodate vendors who cannot fit onto C Street, but Berman notes that at best, there are spaces for 50 vendors.

In addition, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) opposes closing of 7th Street for several reasons, including detrimental impact on the “brick and mortar” merchants on 7th Street, loss of 30 parking spaces on 7th Street, and loss of access to the new development’s loading dock.  EMCAC has also gone on record opposing Stanton-Eastbanc charging vendors for use of the new C Street as well as charging vendors for the 50 spaces reserved for vendor parking in the development on weekends.  (EMMCA is currently supporting subsidized parking for vendors on weekends so as to prevent vendors from seeking parking on residential streets.)

There are other ways to provide space for vendors, including widening the sidewalks on 7th Street and/or C Street, or widening the plaza on C Street.  All of these would involve changing the footprint of the building, which will undoubtedly be resisted by Stanton Eastbanc.  The developer’s private ownership of C Street also imperils the market; as currently written, the ground lease allows the developer to unilaterally close down the flea market if it wishes.  EMCAC is strongly opposed to permitting the developer to have this authority and supports language in the new Eastern Market legislation to prevent it.

The flea market manager’s contracts with the city extend until construction on the new project begins – currently slated for September 2013.  What happens after construction begins and in the interim until the newly reopened C Street is ready to accept vendor operations is uncertain.  Commissioner Brian Pate, ANC6B’s representative to EMCAC, reported to ANC6B Tuesday night, that EMCAC’s current position is that the developer created this problem and should solve it without shifting responsibility to the city to close 7th Street.  He also called upon EMCAC to step up and develop a plan for the flea market during the construction phase.


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The Week Ahead ….


The Week Ahead ….

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, March 13

ANC6B meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center. 

Agenda items of interest:

Application of Acqua Al 2 to expand operation upstairs with 36 additional seats and extend hours of operation. 

Approval of Hine Redevelopment Subcommittee Preliminary Recommendations on Amenities & Benefits and Design Changes in order to begin negotiations with the developer.

Discussion of Transportation-Related Mitigations related to the Hine development.

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