Following are photos of activities Monday night and tonight in front of the Supreme Court. Last night, protesters gathered to express their objections to Trump’s executive order banning Muslim refugees and immigrants. Tonight, protesters gathered to take advantage of the live television camera set up on the sidewalk in front of the Court as reporters awaited Trump’s announcement of his nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Monthly Archives: January 2017
City Launches New Effort to Develop Hill East Boys and Girls Club
Neighbors’ Top Priority is a Community Space Amenity
by Larry Janezich
Saturday, the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development (DMPED) launched a new effort to develop the long abandoned Hill East Boys and Girls Club. A previous effort in 2015 was withdrawn in the face of substantial community opposition to the single viable proposal which came in response to a tightly constructed set of requirements set by the then-project manager, the Department of General Services.
Councilmember Charles Allen, took credit on Saturday for bringing that effort to a halt and for moving responsibility for the development to DMPED, which he termed a more appropriate overseer.
The new effort is occurring under a relatively new process “Our RFP”, i.e. “Our Request for Proposals”, the goal of which is basing the development of a public property in accordance with what the community wants the development to be, and with greater transparency.
Early indications during the DMPED-sponsored community meeting on Saturday is that Hill East wants a development that includes a community amenity – a public space which will anchor the neighborhood and attract neighbors on a daily basis.
ANC6B Commissioner Daniel Ridge, in whose single member district the project lies, told the 40 plus residents who turned out for the meeting that the constant refrain he has heard was that residents pictured themselves as users of a common space in the development, and that they clearly wanted a community amenity they can walk to and have an opportunity to visit.
The structure of “Our RFP” process involved attendees breaking up into working groups of five or six members, and determining a list of their priorities for the development, which were then presented to the group. DMPED will extend the input process with an on-line engagement forum here: http://bit.ly/2jt6ghw
The report of the several working groups with respect to the use of the building reflected an initial preference for public space, housing, and a facility that will have no impact on parking in the neighborhood.
DMPED listed the allowable uses of the building, as follows: residential, place of worship, charter or public school, local government facility, recreation center, library, small health care facility, emergency shelter, boarding house, grocery store, private club, and a child/elderly development center. The building is not designated historic, and does not need to be preserved.
A second community meeting to further prioritize preferences will be held on February 16, at Friendship Chamberlain Elementary, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE. DMPED will then write and release an RFP in March or April. After four to six months for review – during which ANC6B would weigh in with its recommendation – DMPED will make a selection.
For a rate look inside the Boys and Girls Club, see previous CHC post here: http://bit.ly/2gsF8CZ
The Week Ahead….
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday, January 31
ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the ANC6B February meeting.
Wednesday, February 1
- ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee meets at 6:30pm, Northeast Library, 7th and D Streets, NE.
Among items on the draft agenda:
725 L Street, NE, Revised application for a special exception from the lot occupancy
requirements to allow the addition of a one-story sunroom to an existing
one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone
108-110 8th Street, NE, Second revised application for concept approval for the construction of a three-story rear addition and new one-story garage with attached studio.
646 6th Street, NE, – Application for a. a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements of and the nonconforming structure requirements and b. special exceptions from the upper floor addition requirements and the building height requirements to construct a third-floor addition above an existing two-story one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone.
Discussion of upcoming Council oversight hearings
Thursday, February 2
- ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Committee meets at 7:00pm, in Hill Center.
Agenda not available at press time.
- PSA 107 is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm in Southeast Library
- Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL) meet at 5:30pm in Southeast Library. Person interested in joining FOSEL are welcome.
Protest of President’s Ban on Muslims Spreads to Capitol Hill
by Larry Janezich
A rally against Donald Trump’s executive order targeting all refugees as well as immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries which was held in Lafayette Park today, ended up on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol. To have this large a demonstration occur on the Capitol Grounds without a permit is nearly unprecedented, and was likely permitted by US Capitol Police only because it was Sunday, and few or no legislators were in the building.
About 2:45pm, a group protestors started moving through the crowd, claiming to be organizers, and announcing that they were marching to the Capitol. Since this had the appearance of a spontaneous movement, it is unlikely that a permit had been obtained. Perhaps half of the 8 – 10 thousand protestors (my totally subjective rough estimate) ended up at the Capitol, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, totally filling the street. Near the Capitol, the marchers were diverted to Louisiana Avenue toward Union Station, which worked at first, until a group well back in the march broke away from the others, with cries of “Up the hill” and headed straight up Constitution Avenue and on to the Capitol Grounds.
Peace for Iran, which bills itself as a group of international volunteers, announced the “No Muslim Ban” rally yesterday, calling for supporters to rally from 1 – 3pm today at Lafayette Park, across from the White House.
ANC6B Lays Smackdown on Spike Mendelsohn’s Capitol Hill Burger, Pizza, Steak Joints
Alcohol Board (ABRA) Backs ANC6B’s Authority to Protect Residents’ Quality of Life
by Larry Janezich
On Wednesday, ABRA renewed alcohol licenses for Spike Mendelsohn’s three restaurants on Capitol Hill, but told him that they didn’t trust his ability to manage trash and rodent issues without specific direction from the Board – and they ordered him to take or continue a list of practices to address neighbors’ complaints. Mendelsohn and his family run three restaurants on the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE: Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza & Béarnaise.
In the decision, they affirmed ANC6B’s authority to establish operating practices to protect the quality of life of residential neighbors near the restaurants. At the same time, the Board rejected the argument of Mendelsohn’s attorney, Andrew Klein, that that trash and rodents have nothing to do with the liquor license.
ANC6B’s representative in the case was Alcohol Beverage Committee Chair, Chander Jayaraman, whose position was that restaurant operating practices are intimately tied to the serving of alcohol and to the issues of rodents, noise, odors and trash.
Jayaraman had asked ABRA to attach specific conditions to the license renewal: either 1) limit the hours of operation and sales until the applicant can demonstrate effective trash management practices, or 2) require the applicants to take specific measures to address the trash management issues. Earlier this month, Jayaraman was elected Chair of ANC6B.
Nearby residents played a critical role in making the case against the restaurants, providing eyewitness accounts and photographs documenting abuses and illustrating how the restaurant operations were affecting their quality of life.
After the order was issued, Jayaraman issued a statement saying, “I think it is important … that the Board found it “highly unlikely that the Applicants will comply with this requirement in the future without Board action.”
Jayaraman took issue with the owners’ assertions that the restaurants’ trash is picked up twice a day and that the restaurants power wash the trash area twice a day, which were included in ABRA’s Findings of Fact. None the less, he said, “the conclusion that the Board reached and the remedy that they imposed on the Applicant’s license are consistent with the recommendation that the ANC made in this case and which the ANC attempted to negotiate with the Applicant in good faith before moving forward with the Protest.”
In addition, Jayaraman stated, “ANC 6B is committed to working cooperatively with any and all establishments to find a mutually agreeable resolution to community concerns and address quality of life issues raised by residential neighbors. However, we hope that this will serve as a bellwether that the ANC will not shy away from strongly advocating on behalf of residents when there is evidence of egregious violations of District regulations.”
For previous posts on this case, see here: http://bit.ly/2fEJRgS
The Week Ahead….Community Input Sought on Future of Boys and Girls Club Next Saturday
by Larry Janezich
Tuesday, January 24
- Maury Area AdHoc Committee on Transportation Safety is hosting a Community Meeting to present and discuss proposals to improve transportation safety for all residents who live around Maury Elementary. 6:30pm at the Maury Elementary Multi-purpose Room. Representatives from DDOT, MPD, the Mayor’s office and Councilmember Allen’s office will be in attendance.
Wednesday, January 25
- Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm, North Hall, Eastern Market.
Among items on the agenda:
Election of the Independent community member
Report from the Executive Committee:
RFK site proposal
Organizations represented on EMCAC
Saturday, January 28
- DMPED will host an upcoming meeting to solicit community input on the future of the Boys and Girls club site at 17th and Massachusetts, SE. 10:00am, at the Friendship Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE.
(For Women’s March Photo Essay Part 2, click here: http://bit.ly/2jGtlz1)
The Women’s March: Impressions & Photo Essay – Part 1
by Larry Janezich
Capitol Hill Corner and a friend from Colorado spent most of Saturday near Independence Avenue at the rally portion of the Women’s March on Washington.
After failing to meet up with friends at Capitol South Metro, we made our way into the crowd via 3rd Street about 11:30am. There was a group of a half dozen red-hatted counter-protesters near Bartholdi Park, and counter counter-protesters engaging them – the only counter protesters we encountered.
At the time, it was virtually impossible to get onto Independence Avenue. It was also impossible to hear the speakers. Security in the form of an MPD presence seemed non-existent, though there were a handful of members of the National Guard in their camouflage uniforms.
The crowds were overwhelming and the organizers were not prepared. Denied permission to rally on the mall by the U.S. Park Service at the direction of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, organizers were left with the next best option offered by the DC government – the space at the intersection of Third Street and Independence. But there was nothing that was going to prevent demonstrators from spilling onto the Mall and that’s what happened. Hundreds of thousands of marchers could not get close enough to the stage or to speakers to hear the program. Parade marshals were seldom helpful, long lines developed at Porto johns, there were no cell phone or Wi-Fi signals, and the density of the crowds increased to dangerous levels – at times, we found ourselves in crowds where we could not move.
That being said, the crowd was enthusiastic and peaceful, diverse in issues, gender and age. A rough and highly subjective guess is that some 10 – 12 % of the crowd was men. Another rough guess is that some 15% was African American men and women. There were significant numbers of Asians and Latinos. There were people in wheelchairs, people with babies in strollers, people with dogs, and many children. Occasionally, a breeze carried the smell of weed. The unofficial pink “pussy hat” with points resembling feline ears were everywhere – mostly worn by women, but some by men.
We made our way toward what we thought would be the western fringe of the crowd to get near the head of the march scheduled to move along 14th Street to Constitution, then left to the dispersal point on the Ellipse, south of the White House. We tried to stay close to Independence when we could, taking advantage of the sparser populations next to the federal buildings, but occasionally being forced away from Independence and onto the side streets running away from the rally because of the dense crowds. At one point, near 12th Street, at least 50 members of Washington’s Batalá all-women Afro-Brazilian Drum Band – holding their drums over their heads – somehow made their way through the crowd.
At 1:00pm – when the march to the Ellipse was to begin – we found ourselves immobilized by the crush of bodies on 12th Street, half a block from Independence, and realized that the Avenue was entirely filled with demonstrators all the way to 14th Street. Occasionally a chain of people with a destination in mind would inch their way through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, holding each other’s hands or coats, fearful of being separated. Later, a young woman passing by was saying, “It’s hard to get out of a large group of people, especially when your friend has passed out from standing so long.” From somewhere behind us, there were impatient chants of “Start This March, Start This March.”
Remarkably, the Batala Drum Band came through again, having gotten stuck somewhere on the way to Independence. Back on track, the crowd parted for them like the Red Sea, hoping their presence signaled the imminent start of the march. One band member was overheard advising the member in front of her on crowd tactics: “All right, Maria, you’re going to have to be a little…pushy.”
At 1:45pm, a woman nearby who had downloaded a District Homeland Security Agency app to her phone said that she had received an alert that organizers had cancelled the march because there were too many people.
About 2:00pm, during a few seconds of Wi-Fi availability, CHC received an email alert from the Washington Post saying organizers had cancelled the march. The message had been sent half an hour earlier.
As word spread, a few people started moving back away from Independence, but some of those farther away moved forward to take their places. But the crowd loosened a little and there was a little more breathing room.
Then, with no direction, and perhaps owing to some vacancies on Independence as people began to move off, the crowd we were in began to slowly move onto and west on Independence. We moved around a Jumbotron near the Department of Agriculture. Organizers were announcing that a 12 year old girl had been separated from her family and could be reunited with them at the stage. Once we got through the east arch of the Agriculture Department building, progress came to a dead stop.
We (CHC and friend) moved along the Ag building to 14th Street and then onto the mall, where large numbers of people were arriving from points farther east on the mall and from those massed east on Independence. 14th Street was packed and completely stopped. We could see large numbers of marchers in the distance across 14th Street on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Remaining seemed to promise more of the same. Nothing had been heard from the Batala Drum Band. We walked back up the Mall to the Capitol Building.
There were contradictory reports in the news media whether a march had occurred. Some demonstrators were on the Ellipse, but from what this reporter saw, it was not part of anything you could call an organized march. It only mattered to the extent that there was no sense of closure for many of the people who had come to march to make their voices heard. But even that didn’t matter because of what they came away with: a sense of solidarity and the reassurance that they are not alone. What mattered is that they were here and participated and were counted. And with no sense of closure, the future of the rally – which could become a movement – is open.
The message on a sign carried by a young man who exited the Capitol South Metro stop this morning said it best: “Action is the antidote to despair” – Joan Baez.
ANC6B Approves New Expanded Concept for La Lomita Development
by Larry Janezich
Last Tuesday night, ANC6B approved an expanded concept for the redevelopment of La Lomita restaurant at 1330-1336 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. What was formerly 10 condos and 1,000 square feet of restaurant retail space is now 12 condos and 3000 square feet of retail. There will be 1 three bedroom, 5 two bedroom, and four one bedroom units. Some units will have private roof decks, but there will be no common roof deck. The expansion was made possible after the owner, Samuel Fuentes, acquired a townhouse adjacent to the property.
Developers have agreed that none of the residents of the project would be eligible to participate in the Residential Parking Permit program.
La Lomita will still occupy much of the first floor, though developers say there is “some flexibility” regarding the first floor retail space.
PGN Architect partner Jeff Goins – who is also the architect for the 49 unit residential project at 11th and I Streets, SE, planned by Madison Investments – is the architect for the project.
The ANC had approved the earlier smaller concept in January of 2015. For CHC’s post on that, go here: http://bit.ly/2iztxO9
ANC6A Elects Officers – Acts on Letter to City Officials on Youth Rehabilitation Act
ANC6A elected officers for 2017 at it’s January meeting last week. They are as follows: Phil Toomajian, Chair; Michael Soderman, Vice Chair; Calvin Ward, Secretary; and Stephanie Zinny, Treasurer. All were elected unanimously. The commission also welcomed newly elected commissioner Marie-Claire Brown.
The ANC also voted unanimously to send a letter to Mayor Bowser and members of the City Council, expressing the Commission’s concern regarding problems with the city’s criminal justice system identified in the WaPo “Second-Chance City” series. The letter also cited threats to the public safety posed by repeat offenders who benefit from provisions of the Youth Rehabilitation Act. The ANC strongly urged the Executive and Council to produce legislation to ensure the safety of District residents from violent offenders. At the suggestion of Commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, the letter will emphasize the need to focus on rehabilitation efforts. The latter point was reinforced by a member of the audience who said he had 9 years of experience in the criminal justice system, and who pleaded that the rehabilitation goals of the Youth Rehabilitation Act not be abandoned.
Wondering what these signs are appearing in the windows of Capitol Hill businesses? A grass roots neighborhood effort aimed at making a visual impact on visitors coming to the city next weekend for the Inaugural and/or the Women’s’ March is placing them, promoting Unity, Respect, and Dignity for all. Another goal is to promote long-term unity in the neighborhood. The effort has been endorsed by Council Member Charles Allen. For more information, go here: https://www.facebook.com/UnityCapitolHill/ Perhaps inspired by this effort, some subscribers to Capitol Hill listservs are promoting hanging rainbow flags or placing Black Lives Matter signs in front of individual homes with the goal of celebrating diversity and speaking up for inclusivity.
And finally, the sidewalk on the newly re-opened C Street between 7th and 8th Street, SE, in front of the Hine Project’s South building opened to pedestrian traffic last week. Capitol Hill tour guide and author Robert Pohl, pictured above, guesses that the street has been closed for some 100 years. Pohl is the author of Urban Legends & Historic Lore of Washington, D.C. (American Legends), see here: http://amzn.to/2jNTElz
The Week Ahead….ANC6A Elects Officers and Weighs in on YRA, Grass Roots Group Promotes Unity
by Larry Janezich
Monday, January 16
Martin Luther King’s Birthday. No city services. No parking enforcement.
- ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee, which usually meets on the third Monday, will meet on Monday, January 23, at Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE – Photo ID required
Tuesday, January 17
ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00p, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE.CANCELLED OWING TO LACK OF AGENDA ITEMS.
Agenda not available at press time.
- EMCAC Executive Committee meets at 4:00pm, Eastern Market North Hall.
- CHRS Board of Directors Meets at 6:30pm, Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE.
Wednesday, January 18
- ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE.
PSA 106 meets at 7:00pm at 200 Eye Street until the community center opens for business.CANCELLED
Thursday, January 19
PSA 108 is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm, but CHC is guessing that Inaugural duties may result in cancellation. Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE. More later.
Friday, January 20, Inaugural Day
Most things you want and need to know can be found here: https://inauguration.dc.gov/
Saturday, January 21
The Women’s March on Washington will begin with a rally at 3rd and Independence from 10:00am until noon in front of a stage which organizers will erect near the Native American Museum. At 1:00pm, attendees will march west on Independence, to 14th Street, turn right to Constitution Avenue, then left on Constitution to the Ellipse where the marchers will disband.