DC Will Revamp Vaccine Appointment Process in March
by Larry Janezich
Posted February 11, 2021
Mayor Bowser held a situational briefing today to announce some forthcoming changes in the vaccine registration process and other vaccine related news. Here are the highlights:
In early March, the registration process will be updated to allow individuals to sign up to be notified when there is vaccine available to them. Tier eligibility, zip code and timing of registration will be the three criteria (an “equity lens”) which will determine when those who are registered will be eligible to receive an appointment and DOH will notify registrants accordingly. Once a group of registrants is notified, people in the group will have a limited amount of time to accept or decline. If they accept, they can schedule appointment at a place convenient for them. Then the DOH will notify the next group as vaccine becomes available.
Next week’s allotment of vaccine will be 14,275 doses – up 50 % from two weeks ago.
Approximately 40% of seniors will be vaccinated by the end of this week and 70% by the end of February. Grocery store employees will become eligible next month, including small groceries and delis.
Friday (February 12) morning, 2500 doses will be available to seniors and health care workers in all zip codes. Web portal appointments have gone faster than phone call appointments.
DOH has asked FEMA to supply and administer vaccine to federal employees including Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches, the Postal Service, Federal Reserve and WMATA.
Next week will see an adjustment in time regarding when the web portal and phone bank will open, since 9:00am is not convenient for everyone.
Last night, the DC Department of Health was notified by the CDC that three cases of the UK variant and one case of the South African variant have been found in the District. There are likely more cases, since not all cases are examined for genetic sequencing – only a sample. Dr. Nesbitt urged continuing use of masks and social distancing.
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Councilmember Charles Allen at Tuesday Night’s ANC6B Meeting
CM Charles Allen on Vaccinations, Capitol Fences, and Public Safety
by Larry Janezich
CM Charles Allen addressed ANC6B last night regarding a number of current issues facing the City Council and the city.
Vaccine Update: Allen says he is frustrated like everybody else about the way the city has set up the vaccination system; pitting neighbor against neighbor in the search for vaccination appointments is not the best way to proceed. He and other council members have recommended a one-time registration with appointments then scheduled by the Department of Health as the vaccine becomes available. He noted that not everybody can be online at 9:00am, and this leads to disparity. Likewise, prioritizing by zip codes is not the right geography.
The Department of Health is meeting this week to make some changes in the Tiers regulating eligibility for receiving vaccinations. Some of the changes likely to be included are to insure earlier access to the vaccine for pregnant women and to further break down the next eligible age group (18 – 64), perhaps to a 50 – 64 year old population. He said that changes agreed to would likely be announced later this week.
Capitol Fences: Thursday night, February 11, Congresswoman Norton will host a virtual town hall on the impact of the U.S. Capitol attack on D.C. residents and public spaces at 6:00 p.m. All D.C. residents are invited to attend. Charles Allen and representatives from the U.S. Capitol Police will also attend. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP by emailing NortonEvents@mail.house.gov.
Allen said that the US Capitol Police is proposing a razor wire permanent fence around the Capitol. “I am absolutely opposed”, Allen said, adding that “we have to make Members of Congress safe as well as neighbors and staffers, but the answer is inside of the Capitol and inside the Capitol Police. A giant fence with razor wire is the lazy was to address the problem – it’s not a good look for the community.” He noted that a number of ANC’s are passing resolutions opposing a permanent fence around the Capitol Grounds, and urged ANC6B to consider doing the same. ANC6B later unanimously passed a resolution Bike and Pedestrian Access Through Capitol Grounds – see here: http://bit.ly/36x1lrk
Public Safety: Allen noted two categories of crime which have seen marked increases over a year ago – gun violence and carjackings and thefts. One positive step regarding the former, he said, was the appointment of Linda Harllee Harper, the city’s new Director of Gun Violence Prevention – a position created under legislation sponsored by Allen. Her job will include looking at the root causes of gun violence including behavior, housing, and education well as the trauma of gun violence. Harper’s mission is to bring agencies across the administration to bear upon the problem. Allen called the increase in gun violence a public health emergency exacerbated by the pandemic that will take more than the police to resolve.
Carjackings are occurring across the entire city. There is no targeting of cars or persons, rather these seem to be crimes of opportunity. MPD has created a carjacking task force focusing energy on this. Allen said he has consulted the Attorney General to see if there are ways for that office to intervene. He said every city is seeing this phenomenon right now and that these crimes are being committed by young people – including juveniles. Allen said that societal structures closed by the pandemic are contributing to the problem.
DC Lottery Denies Handle 19’s Application for Gambling License
by Larry Janezich
Posted February 8, 2021
On January 28, the Office of Lottery and Gaming issued an Executive Director’s Order denying Handle 19’s Sports wagering License. Business owner Shane August applied for the license last May to open a sports book gambling outlet at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
Once his intention became public, neighbors began organizing to oppose the granting of a liquor license in hopes that a denial would discourage August from opening at the location. The possibility that DC Lottery would deny the license seemed remote. and the conventional wisdom was that August had the right to open the gambling outlet, liquor license license or not. A divided ANC6B weighed in on behalf of the neighbors, voting to protest the liquor license and hired an attorney to represent the ANC at a protest hearing before the Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Administration.
As to why DC Lottery denied the application, the Executive Director’s Order says:
“The Application and supporting documentation were reviewed by the [Office of Lottery and Gaming’s] Regulation and Oversight Division and a due diligence background investigation was conducted on both Handle 19 and its Individual Qualifiers.
Based upon the information contained in the application and the results of the due diligence background investigation, on January 4, 2021, the OLG’s Director of the Regulation and Oversight Division issued a [Recommendation] Memorandum recommending the application be denied…after determining Handle 19 did not meet the requirements for licensure due to investigative findings related (sic) its Individual Qualifiers.
After a review of the Recommendation Memorandum, the Executive Director agrees with and adopts the Recommendation Memorandum in full….”
The Order directed that the Recommendation Memorandum produced by the Regulation and Oversight Division “shall only be sent to Shane August …and not released to the public because [it] contains information that is confidential under D.C. Official Code…”
The order says that if Handle 19 withdraws its application within 15 business days the application status shall be changed from denied to withdrawn. The $100,000 sports wagering application fee is not refundable.
Capitol Hill Corner asked former ANC6B Chair and Alcohol Beverage Committee Chair Chander Jayaraman to comment on the gambling license denial. He said, “I appreciate DC Lottery doing their job investigating applicants and denying applicants who do not meet the standards the city expects.” Though no longer on the Commission, Jayaraman has been heavily involved in the ANC’s protest of Handle 19’s application for a liquor license.
In a related development, on February 3, ABRA granted ANC6B’s motion to delay the protest hearing on Handle’s application for a liquor license until March 31. That issue is separate from the gaming license, and August could continue to pursue a liquor license, though it is unclear whether he desires to limit his business model to a restaurant or whether there is some other avenue to a gaming license approval. ABRA has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday to review the protestant’s January 27 motion to dismiss the protest hearing regarding the liquor license.
Curious about Fearless Girls 2020? Laura Lyster-Mensh, “author, podcaster, consultant, rabble rouser” tracked down Fearless Girls 2020 and has done two pod casts on their art – the second one featuring an extensive interview. You can also find Lyster-Mensh’s map of Fearless Girls 2020 sculpture sightings. Go here: http://apple.co/3oZsrOa
The Week Ahead – Highlights of Upcoming ANC Meetings – Photos
by Larry Janezich
Highlights of the Upcoming ANC meetings:
Wednesday, ANC6C – DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton
Wednesday – Alcoholic Beverage Control Board – Review of Protestant Motion to Dismiss Protest Hearing in Case of Handle 19, Inc.
Review of Protestant 6B’s Motion to Dismiss Protest Hearing in Case No. 20-PRO00047, dated January 27, 2021. Handle 19, Inc. t/a Handle 19, 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Class CR, License No.: ABRA-117027
In accordance with Open Meetings Act, this meeting will be closed for deliberation and to consult with an attorney to obtain legal advice. The Board’s vote, however, will be held in an open session and the public is invited to attend.
Motion to authorize Co-Chairs of the ABL Committee to negotiate and sign a settlement agreement with representatives of the new establishment seeking a Class C Tavern license for operations at 1378 H Street, NE.
Motion to authorize Co-Chairs of the ABL Committee to submit to ABRA on behalf of the ANC a letter of support for a stipulated license for the new establishment seeking a Class C Tavern license for operations at 1378 H Street, NE, upon completion of a settlement agreement and upon receipt and review of a satisfactory placard for said establishment consistent with the discussion during the January 2021 ABL meeting.
Motion that ANC 6A approve the revised template settlement agreements as reflected in the ABL’s January 2021 meeting package. Recommendation: ANC 6A determine whether to remove from template settlement agreements requiring establishments to ask loiterers to move away from premises and authorize the Co-Chairs of the ABL to make any corresponding changes required.
Economic Development and Zoning Committee
1300 I Street, NE. Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of conditional support to BZA for a special exception to construct a third story, with rear and side additions, and to construct six residential units to an existing, two-story, detached building at 1300 I Street, NE, provided that the caveats that the developer add a bike rack or other amenities to encourage non-car transportation.
Suggested motion: ANC 6A approve an expenditure of $40.00 (plus tax) per month for a subscription to Zoom Webinars to conduct the ANC’s virtual meetings.
Presentation: Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen
MOVEDC Virtual Town Hall
Date and time: Thursday, February 11, 2021 1:30 pm
moveDC is the long-range transportation plan for the District of Columbia. moveDC establishes goals, policies, strategies and metrics for District Department of Transportation to invest in transportation facilities and programs that address the future needs of Washingtonians across all eight wards. Input is being solicited from all residents to ensure that long-range plan reflects the needs and priorities of a world class city like Washington, DC.
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MPD Chief Says US Attorney “No Where Near” Deciding if Officer Will Be Charged in Insurrection Death
By Larry Janezich
Posted February 4, 2021
Mayor Bowser held a Situational Briefing today along with MPD Chief Robert Contee and Director of the DC Department of Health, LaQuandra Nesbitt. In the Q&A after the Mayor’s presentation on the status of Covid – 19 vaccination efforts, Chief Contee was asked for an update on two deaths which occurred during the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – those of Officer Brian Sicknick and Ashley Babbitt. Contee said the US Attorney’s office was “no where near making a determination” whether a US Capitol Police officer will be charged in the shooting of Babbit during the insurrection on January 6. He said that media reports of a preliminary determination that the Capitol Police officer who shot Babbitt will not be charged are “totally false”. The investigation is in the very early stages and MPD is working in “tight coordination” with the US Attorney’s Office. That office did a walkthrough of the scene of the shooting on Friday.
MPD and the Chief Medical Examiner are in charge of investigating deaths in the District of Columbia – in deaths involving an officer it is several months before a determination is made.
In apparent reference to Officer Sicknick, Contee said that the Chief Medical Examiner will make a recommendation about the manner and cause of death once there is a “better understanding” of what we are dealing with.
In response to another reporter’s question, Contee said that MPD had issued a concealed carry permit to Representative Lauren Bobert (R-CO) and that MPD had reached out to Boebert as he said they would do regarding the video she circulated asserting that she would carry her handgun in DC. Contee said much of the video was taped on the US Capitol Grounds and although Boebert allowed the viewer to infer she was armed, she never displayed a weapon. He said that a permit application had been in the works. Asked by a reporter if other members of Congress had concealed carry permits, Contee said he was not sure but given the thousands of permits MPD has issued, there were probably others.
Also during the Q&A, Bowser was asked to comment about the fence which cordons off much of the complex of federal buildings on Capitol Hill and downtown Washington. She said she first she wanted to talk about the solemn ceremony in remembrance of Officer Sicknick at the US Capitol which she and Chief Contee attended. She said she didn’t fully appreciate the trauma that members of Congress and their staff went through and the fear they are living with – members of the Capitol Police force as well experienced trauma as did members of the MPD. “Those people were scared for their lives’, she said, “and I want to say how sorry I am and that my heart goes out to them.” An investigation and security re-boot is under way to consider how to secure the building without locking out the public. Bowser said we want the members, building and ground to be secure – safe but not fenced off. “The fence sends a broader message about democracy from our nation’s Capital to the rest of the world”, she said, “I’m confident the people involved will find a more robust security posture without fencing off the Capitol.”
Other takeaways from the briefing:
Nesbitt: Some federal entities get vaccines from the federal government, including DOD, Homeland Security, Bureau of Prisons, and Veteran Administration. Veterans over 65 years old may be able to get vaccinated through VA medical Centers. Call 202 745 8000 or visit https://www.va.gov/
Nesbitt: It’s very difficult to predict whether we will have a surge caused by a variant in immediate future. It depends on how closely we adhere to non-pharmaceutical interventions. A variant has been presented as dominant in some countries but whether it will become dominant in our region is unknown. Note of the three main variants have been seen in DC yet.
Nesbitt: The percentage of DC residents who have received the vaccine is 0.9% – the higher figures reported by the media do not take into account the number of non-residents we have vaccinated, and are based on the total number of shots administered which gives a higher figure.
Nesbitt: It would not be a good idea to concentrate all manufacturing efforts on the two vaccines currently approved. The greater number of vaccines being produced by a larger number of manufacturers will mean a greater overall supply of vaccine that we can get out to the public as well as provide greater confidence in the supply chain. Having 6 or 7 manufacturers will greatly enhance our ability to vaccinate or population in a shorter time.
Bowser: The DC Hospitality Alliance has special deals at hotels, DC attractions, restaurants and local businesses for the military, law enforcement officers, and first responders. DC wants to invite them and their families to visit DC. See here: https://washington.org/dcsalutesyou
Contee: MPD has formed a Car Jacking Taskforce in partnership with the FBI to address the spike in car jackings which is occurring here but is also widespread across the country. A major cause is people leaving their cars running while unattended. People should use caution and perhaps avoid sitting in their cars to eat or check cell phones.
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Canales Delicatessen at Eastern Market Is Under New Management
by Larry Janezich
Posted February 3, 2021
After 38 years operating his deli at Eastern Market, Jose Canales has sold Canales Delicatessen. The new owner is Marcello Maturano who owns The Delly in Fairfax. The signing of a new ten year lease at Eastern Market cleared the way for the sale. Canales cited his difficulties with the city as one reason behind his decision to sell the business. The city first suggested a three year lease. Carnales says he was successful in upping the timing to ten years, but it came with a 330% increase in rent – the highest in the Market. As present, he says, the deli is the only business in Eastern Market which has a signed lease. Another reason is that after 38 years and the demands of the business, he is ready to step back and spend more time with his family.
Canales said he had mixed feelings about leaving the Market – “It has been blessed for me – watching kids in the neighborhood grow up – meeting great people who became friends and not just customers – you get attached.” He will be around for two weeks to help with the transition. After that, you can find him at Tortilla Café, across the street, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, helping out his daughter Catalina, who owns and runs that operation.
Mayor Bowser’s Situational Briefing on Monday, February 1
by Larry Janezich
Posted February 1, 2021
Mayor Bowser held a situational briefing Monday afternoon. Here are the main COVID take-aways:
10,975 doses of the vaccine will be delivered to DC this week. (8,775 last week)
83,125 doses have been delivered to DC and 62,219 have been administered. The difference is the number of vaccines for scheduled appointments.
The doses received by the city are split three ways every week, as follows: 1) Portal and call center, 2) Health care providers and hospitals and community health centers, 3) Special populations – essential employees, seniors living at home or in senior residential buildings, teachers, MPD, FEMS, and DDS populations.
Licensed child care providers and teachers and staff of independent schools in DC are eligible to schedule appointments this week when the portal opens.
All DCPS teachers and staff have been offered the vaccine. Approximately 3100 teachers and staff have received the first dose.
22.8% of the 86,000 individuals over 65 have been vaccinated.
Vaccinations lag in Wards 5, 7, and 8. Vaccine confidence appears to be a leading factor.
On Thursday morning at 9:00am priority zip codes in Wards 5, 7, and 8 will be eligible to schedule appointments.
The city has 200 people taking calls to assist residents with making appointments. Here’s the Vaccination portal number 855-363-0333.
According to the CDC, the second dose may be administered up to 42 days after the first dose.
The city is not using second doses to vaccinate more people with their first dose.
If you receive any messages or calls about the private sale of a vaccine, report this as an illegal scam. Report a scam to MPD: (202) 727-4159.