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District Soul Food Opens On Barracks Row Saturday, February 2

District Soul Food, at 8th and E Streets, SE – Barracks Row – opens February 2.  It opens in the space formerly occupied by Banana Cafe which closed in December of 2018.  

The restaurant has been completely renovated and the first floor dining area features an open kitchen.

Upstairs: cocktails and live music.

And behind a closed door off to the side, the cigar lounge.

The five partners who are bringing District Soul Food to Barracks Row are, L-R – Eddie Reynolds, Christopher Alston, Craig Parkinson, CEO; Chris Everette, and David Roundtree, COO. The restaurant is a new venture for the five – all of whom have had experience in the hospitality industry.

District Soul Food Opens On Barracks Row Saturday, February 2

by Larry Janezich

District Soul Food will open next Saturday at 10:00am, bringing “soul food with a French connection” – breakfast, lunch and dinner – to Barracks Row.  David Roundtree, the restaurant’s chief operating officer, said they are trying to set themselves apart by offering a full service restaurant with live music and a cigar lounge all in one.  The first floor caters to families, while there are cocktails, cigars, and live music upstairs.  He said, “We want to create an experience and have every customer be part of the experience.” He wants the restaurant to appeal to every generation – wants people to walk in because they desire to be part of something special.

The menu – created by Executive Chef John Fearrington (La Residence, True Flavors Southern Diner) – is eclectic – with vegan and gluten free options – and can be viewed here:  http://districtsoulfood.com/contact/.  The drink menu will be up by middle of next week.

The restaurant will provide live entertainment two or three times a week – jazz, rhythm and blues, reggae, and soft rock.

Asked, “Why Barracks Row?” the owners give Roundtree credit; “He brought us all together.” Roundtree says that the five had talked about opening a restaurant and were looking for the perfect location – “I drove past here every day – when I showed it to the others, we decided the location was perfect.”

Craig Parkinson, CEO, said that the restaurant wants to embrace the community and be a good neighbor – and provide people in the neighborhood with a great experience every day.  He said he had been pleased at the collaboration the team experienced in interacting with other restaurants on Barracks Row – and happy to be with others in a team environment.

One immediate environmental improvement nearby neighbors will appreciate is the indoor storage of trash.  ANC6B has been a leader in leveraging renovations of restaurants in 6B’s commercial corridors to store trash in doors.

The restaurant will be open daily: Sunday – Wednesday: 10:00am-11:00pm, and Thursday – Saturday: 10:00am-2:00am.

 

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Saturday Flea Market Operator Will Fight Termination of Lease for 300 Block of 7th Street SE

 

The 300 block of 7th Street was open to traffic Saturday morning, circa 7:15am.

Saturday Flea Market Operator Will Fight Termination of Lease for 300 Block of 7th Street

By Larry Janezich

Friday afternoon, Carol Wright, operator of the Saturday Capitol Hill Flea Market, responded to the Department of General Services’ (DGS) termination of her license to operate on 7th Street.  Wright sent an email to Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson, that she had “no intention, whatsoever, of giving up or terminating the license” for use of the 300 block of 7th Street.

Wright’s email outlined her engagements with Margeson to provide for the “continued use of Seventh Street since October 1, 2018.”  The letter charges that termination of the license had not been brought up in conversations and meetings before it was suddenly announced last Thursday.

Wright’s letter said, “The public announcement that our market is terminated has already created community outcry.  Your announcement that DGS will be putting out an RFP [request for proposals for another operator] while we are still negotiating a change in terms and security upgrades for the 5th extension offered to us and without any notification to EMCAC, the ANC, Councilman Allen, and most importantly me, will be met with extreme protest by myself and others.”

“I will be requesting a meeting, regarding this matter, with Councilman Charles Allen, EMCAC chair Donna Scheeder,  ANC Chair Chander Jayaraman, and you  to stop the February 7th DGS plan for a RFP. As I previously answered your question the Capitol Hill Flea Market is ready for a March 2, 2019 set up on the 300 block of Seventh Street and should not be threatened by your announcements this week.”

As previously reported Wright has not yet signed a contract for the continued use of the block for the flea market.  The Saturday flea market has not set up on 7th Street since the first week of December, not has it set up on C Street between 7th and 8th Streets so far this year.  January and February are the slowest months for all outside vendors connected with Eastern Market as weather makes setting up tents difficult and keeps foot traffic indoors.

 

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PSA:  Open Election of Independent Community Representative to Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee

 

PSA:  Election of Independent Community Representative to Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee

Press Release

EMCAC – Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee

Election of our INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE

The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) will be having an election by its members for the seat of Independent Community Representative.  This will be done during its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 7pm   in the North Hall at the Eastern Market.  According to our By Laws the election was announced, but rescheduled to assure further dissemination and notice to the community.

To qualify for election to a two year term the EMCAC Independent Community Representative is required to a resident of the local community.  Additionally, the individual so selected shall not be an officer, director or chair of any committee in any of the Capitol Hill Community Organizations represented on the Committee, or a sitting Commissioner of ANC 6B.  Election is by simple majority of the standing EMCAC members.

We ask that if you would like to put you name in nomination it is suggested that you submit your name and short resume by February 25th to EMCAC members at  cburger@cbmove.com.  Nominations will also be accepted from the floor the day of the election.

EMCAC is the District’s legislatively established body entrusted with advisory and oversight responsibilities for the operations, management and renovation of Eastern Market.  Current members include representatives from ANC6B, Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Capitol Hill Association of Merchants, Eastern Market Preservation and Development Corporation, Stanton Park Neighborhood Association, a community representative, Ward 6 Council Office, the Mayor and representatives from the South Hall, Farmer’s Line and non-food merchants at the Market.

We cordially invite the community to all of our meetings.  They are generally held on the last Wednesday of each month in the North Hall at Eastern Market at 7th SE & North Carolina SE.  Your comments or involvement in any of our committees is welcomed.  Please call for information or questions: Chuck Burger, Vice Chair at 202-258-5316 or email at cburger@cbmove.com.  Follow the market at www.easternmarket-dc.org.

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Saturday Flea Market Surrenders License to Operate on 300 Block of 7th Street

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, North Hall, Eastern Market, Wednesday night. Market Manager Barry Margeson, responding to a question from Union Meats’ Bill Glasgow, said the Saturday flea market operator had not renewed the license for vending on the 300 block of 7th Street. The announcement that DGS was terminating the license and issuing an RFP came on Thursday.

Saturday Flea Market Surrenders License to Operate on 300 Block of 7th Street

by Larry Janezich

Thursday afternoon, Barry Margeson, Eastern Market Manager, announced that the Department of General Services (DGS) license allowing the Saturday flea market to occupy the 300 block of 7th Street on Saturdays had expired on December 1, 2018 and “is terminated.” The message stated, “On February 7, 2019, DGS will advertise a Request for Proposals (RFP) for management of the 300 block of 7th Street on Saturdays.”

The Saturday and Sunday flea markets on the 300 block of 7th Street and on C Street between 7th and 8th are operated by Carol Wright, and Mike Berman, respectively. Their licenses to operate on 7th Street expired on December 1 and the operators had the option of a signing up for a six month extension. Berman signed, Wright did not.

During December, Wright continued to operate on the (now privately owned by Hine developer Eastbanc) C Street under a three year contract with the developer.  Reportedly, Wright told EastBanc she would not operate on C Street during January and February (the two slowest business months) but would return in March.

DGS’s action means Wright’s Saturday flea market could return to C Street in March, but not to 7th Street.

CHC reached out to Wright for reaction; her reply was, “No comment at this time.”

Sunday flea market operator Mike Berman – whose market will continue on 7th and on C Streets on Sundays, said he was offended that DGS did not give him the right of first refusal to help them maintain a closed street on Saturday: “Instead of asking us to secure it, they put it out to bid.  It does harm to have the street unoccupied – no one wants the street open to traffic –an empty street means fewer shoppers for Eastern Market as well as retail.”

No details regarding the RFP are available, so what it might contain regarding the term of a license, the fee requirement, and what criteria must be met, are unknown. It seems unlikely a selection of a new vendor could happen before June.  It’s possible the RFP could open the street for proposals other than flea markets.  If DGS found none of the responses to the RFP qualified, that might be just fine with the brick and mortar retail on 7th Street as well as the new retail coming in to the ground floor of the Hine project and the Eastern Market South Hall merchants.

The city has allocated funding for a strategic plan study regarding the future of Eastern Market and the surrounding retail spaces, including 7th and C Streets, which is still in its early stages.

CHC asked Eastern Market Advisory Committee Chair Donna Scheeder for her reaction to DGS’s plan to issue an RFP for the 300 block of 7th Street.  Scheeder said that she was speaking for herself, since EMCAC had not considered the DGS announcement:

“I was surprised that we went overnight from options under discussion at DGS to a decision today.

EMCAC has taken a position that we support the block being occupied by flea market activity until the strategic business plan addresses this.

This action is in keeping with this position. However, EMCAC is also charged to review the RFPs that deal with market activities in the Eastern Market Special Use District so I have written to Barry Margeson to demand that we review the RFP before it is promulgated.”

The current Saturday and Sunday flea market managers have been operating the flea markets for about 15 years – first on the Hine schoolyard and then – with the beginning of the construction of Hine – on 7th Street.  While the community seems overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the street closed, some in the business community believe it’s problematic to continue the flea market on 7th Street in its present form.

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ANC6D Recommends Approval of Waterfront Station – Amidon PTA Pushes Back on Charter School

ANC6D elected new officers at the end of last night’s meeting: L-R Ron Collins, Treasurer; Rhonda Hamilton, Secretary; Andy Litsky, Vice Chair; Gail Fast, Chair; Commissioners Edward Daniels, Anthony Dale, and Anna Forgie.

ANC6D Recommends Approval of Waterfront Station – Amidon PTA Pushes Back on Charter School

by Larry Janezich

Last night ANC6D recommended to the Zoning Commission that the Planned Unit Development (PUD) application by developer PN Hoffman for Waterfront Station at 1000 4th Street, SW, be approved.  The ANC recently concluded negotiations with the developer for a package of community benefits under the PUD process, to compensate the community for the project’s density, mass, and height, which would otherwise run afoul of city zoning regulations.

Two of the community benefits eagerly sought by 6D were the inclusion in the ground floor retail of a diner and an experimental performance space (a black box theater).  To that end, the developers pledged to reserve 1200 square feet for a diner and 9000 square feet for a theater for five years – beginning now, with the effort to market those spaces for those purposes.  If unsuccessful, the spaces could be used for other purposes after that time.

Concerns were raised from the community regarding the recently announced decision by Hoffman to lease space to the AppleTree Pre-K charter school currently operating out of space on the grounds of Jefferson School.  Representatives of the PTA from Amidon Bowen Elementary School voiced worries that the charter would set kids on a path that would draw students and funding away from Amidon.

6D Chair Andy Litsky expressed surprise the commission had not heard of the inclusion of the charter school before.  PN Hoffman said that there had never been an intention to include an educational component, but AppleTree had approached the developer seeking to lease space.  Commissioner Anthony Dale moved to make ANC6D’s recommendation contingent on Hoffman meeting Amidon Bowen reps within 10 days of the scheduled January 31st Zoning Commission hearing on the PUD, and the developer’s agreement with the school within 30 days after January 31 that addresses the school’s  concerns.

The vote on the motion to recommend approval of the PUD was unanimous, 7 – 0.

The mixed use joint development is the result of a partnership between the city and the developer.  Construction is expected to begin early next year with the goal of completion by the fall of 2022.  The 11 story building will provide 456 residential units (134 affordable,) 11,400 square feet of retail, and 233 below grade parking spaces.  UrbanTurf has a lot of renderings here:  https://bit.ly/2FW4T9Z

In other business, the ANC elected new officers for 2019 and 2020:  Gail Fast will serve as Chair; Andy Litsky, Vice Chair; Rhonda Hamilton, Secretary; and Ron Collins, Treasurer.

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The Week Ahead… and Kabob & More at 1123 Pennsylvania Avenue

Kabob & More started sharing space with Pizzaiole a couple of weeks ago (the operations are separate). The sign pictured above arrives this week. Unpretentious, it’s reported to be good value for the money. It opens daily at 11:00am until 12:30am Sunday – Thursday, and until 2:30am on Friday and Saturday.  Dine in or carry out – but no alcohol.  The restaurant is a couple of doors away from Hype Cafe, which opened last year.  

Here’s a look at the menu – click to enlarge. 

The Week Ahead…and Kabob & More at 1123 Pennsylvania Avenue

By Larry Janezich

Monday, January 21

Martin’s Luther King’s Birthday celebrated.  DC Government closed.  DPW will not pick up trash or enforce metered or residential parking.

Wednesday, January 23

ANC6D meets at 7:00pm, 1100 4th Street, SW

Among items on the draft agenda:

Introduction of DC Nightlife Mayor Shawn Townsend

Public Safety Report- First District MPD (PSA 103, PSA 105 & PSA 106) Capt. Mongal, Capt. Dorrough, Lt. Lavenhouse.

Presentations:

Amidon Field Environmental Restoration Project – Cecelia Lane, DOEE

 FreshFarm Markets Letter of Support – Carrie Hildebrandt

Walters (address not listed by ANC) – new Tavern liquor license w/Entertainment endorsement plus Sidewalk Cafe & Summer Garden.

Waterfront Station/1000 4th Street SW PUD – Zoning Commission Application.

555 E Street project update (multifamily apartment development with 195 units – 58 affordable for seniors – a boutique hotel, and 10,000 square feet of innovative retail space).

950 South Capitol Street Public Space Construction Permit Application.  Residential building with active residential amenity space and approximately 300 units.

DDOT Notice of Intent re “No Turn On Red” signs.

Letter to DDOT and WMATA RE Public Comment Period Regarding Parking Space Removal for Buses.

Election of 2019 Commission Officers.

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm, North Hall, Eastern Market, 225 7th Street, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Announcement:  Eastern Market Metro Plaza Advisory Committee Meeting January 29, 2019, 9AM, Hill Center. Advisory Committee meetings are now open to the public.  Public meetings are scheduled for February 6 and April 3rd, 7 PM. North Hall at Eastern Market.

Independent Community Member election : Chuck Burger, Chair, Elections and Credentials.

Market Managers Report

Status of the HVAC study

Lease update

Parking

Thursday, January 24

ANC6C Transportation and Public Space Committee holds Special Meeting with DDOT at 7:00 p.m. at Capitol Hill Medical Center/Kaiser Permanente, 700 Second St. N.E. (2nd & G Streets N.E.

On the agenda:

K Street, NE Road Diet (reducing and narrowing the number of lanes to increase traffic flow)

 

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ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman Talks About Capitol Hill’s Major Issues

2019-01-10 12.42.30ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman Talks About Capitol Hill’s Major Issues

by Larry Janezich

Chander Jayaraman was elected Chair of ANC6B last Tuesday.  He previously served as chair during 2016 and 2017.  Capitol Hill Corner asked him to talk about ANC6B’s major issues.

Eastern Market Metro Plaza – He calls it a “game changer development – I don’t want 6B to be a rubber stamp.  I see the ANC as the conduit for concerns and ideas of residents which will be addressed in the planning.”  He says he will likely ask Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk’s Constituent Outreach Task Force to track the development and solicit input from the community, both on the Plaza and the South East Library.  Commissioners Jerry Sroufe and Brian Ready in whose single member districts the respective projects reside would be the liaisons between the task force and the project’s advisory committees.  He said he was gratified that DGS had opened up the Metro Advisory Committee meetings to the public but concerned it had set up one-on-one meetings with the constituent members which could circumvent the open meeting process.

Eastern Market – Jayaraman says Eastern market is the heart of the community because it’s “the spot where different races converge.”  He wants to find ways to get Eastern Market on a better financial footing – especially regarding long term leases for the South Hall merchants – “they can’t continue operation on year to year leases. He says the DGS study on leases was way off, according to merchants, and a second study is coming up.  Jayaraman has initiated the outreach to new DGS Director Keith Anderson for a briefing by EMCAC, and hopes to coordinate a tour of the market for Anderson, CM Robert Wright (chair of DGS oversight committee), ANC representatives and EMCAC members.

Weekend flea markets – He supports the continuation of the flea markets controlled by private operators on the 300 block of 7th Street and the newly reopened C Street between 7th and 8th Streets.  He says they provide opportunities for small businesses who can’t afford high rents:  “If we want more retail, we have to provide appropriate ways for businesses to reach customers.”  He cited Indigo’s graduation from an Eastern Market food vendor to a restaurant on H Street.  He says, “There should be a way for flea markets to coexist with the brick and mortar retail on 7th Street and the incoming retail in the Hine project.  We may have to change the configuration.”

Parking –   ANC6B has tried to make residents of multi-unit buildings ineligible for Residential Parking Permits through agreement with developers but whether that will be effective depends on support from DMV.  Regulations require that developers of multi-unit buildings provide one parking space for every two units, and he thinks the city should incentivize use of those spaces by tenants – in-building parking is expensive and the practical alternative is street parking.  He says that many families have a real need for more than one vehicle, but “I do think the city should revisit its residential parking policy when an individual or household has more than two vehicles.”  And he believes that the city should strongly encourage those with garages and parking pads on their property to use those for their personal vehicles.

Restaurant Trash and Rats – Jayaraman (who also chairs the 6B Alcohol Beverage Committee) says that since all restaurant liquor license renewals are up for renewal this spring, there are opportunities to pressure restaurants – particularly on Barracks Row (he cites Ted’s Bulletin, Mediterranean Cafe and Las Placitas as examples) who are either frequent violators of trash restrictions or not in compliance with what they agreed to in settlement agreements imposing conditions on their licenses – “We’ve made great strides in requiring best operating practices – every new establishment puts trash inside. We want them to succeed but they have a community responsibility as well.”

The troubled 400 block of Eighth Street/Homelessness – Jayaraman says that the troubles on the block are not just a matter of homelessness – “The 400 block of 8th is an economic and social gathering point for people who have hung out there for a long time.”  He says has not seen MPD presence on the block as much as he expected: “One thing we can do is leverage other community resources such as DOH and DOBH mobile units to try to connect the homeless with city services.  In some circumstances, this won’t work.  Some homeless refuse to go to shelters for fear of violence or disease.  I would like to see Community Connections provide more assistance to keep the homeless off the street at night by keeping their lobby open and providing access to shelter, bathrooms and counseling.  It’s a matter of willingness of the organization to bring that in.”  He also discourages residents from providing handouts to panhandlers.

Drugs -He says that the problem is not just K2 – so-called synthetic marijuana – but a combination of powdered heroin and cocaine which has had a “huge impact which I see in my neighborhood.  The use of heroin and cocaine do not manifest itself to the degree that the use of K-2 does, producing comatose users, but some characteristics are the same.”  He sees a link between package theft and drug use, and says we need more action by MPD’s drug intervention task force.

Retail – Jayaraman says landlords in ANC6B’s commercial corridors – Barracks Row, Eastern Market, Pennsylvania Avenue – are asking too much money for rents: “I hope landlords realize they can’t get this kind of money forever. I don’t know that Capitol Hill is dying – there are lots of young families.  But it’s not a cool, hip place to live anymore – as much as near The Wharf or H Street.”  He said we have to be more supportive of businesses and would like to see Union Kitchen – a makerspace for commercial cooks – on Capitol Hill and a Compass Coffee, adding, “Change is inevitable – how we continue is to recognize that and adjust moving forward and increase our efforts to promote it.”

The Historic District – “I don’t believe the Historic District needs to go farther east –there may come a time when it’s appropriate, but were not there yet.  In light of so much development in Hill East and with the potential development of RFK there could be segments that become Historic – but not necessarily a straight line extension.”  He says we need a balance between historic homeowners and the drive to make housing more affordable.  The challenge is to find a way to let owners expand their homes to accommodate growing families, while maintaining the character of what makes Capitol Hill unique.  Leaning too far to one side in rejecting everything means we price ourselves out of being a vibrant community. He wants to increase development of alley dwellings and allow second story rear additions.

Hill East – “I’m concerned that outside the historic district that in some ways it’s like the Wild West. He said he lost a vote in his SMD when he tried to use parking regulations to prevent a four story popup in a row of two story houses – “It looks like a middle finger.  Just because something is built by right doesn’t mean it’s right.”

RFK – He’s opposed to development of a new football stadium.  He would like to see a mixed use area – athletic fields and a building with lots of activities for kids, adults and seniors.  He says he could see an amphitheater or maybe a smaller stadium for the Captials or Wizards.  “It would be great to get on a bike at Kingman Park and ride to Georgetown and have various experiences on the way – RFK – Navy Yard – ballpark – The Wharf.  That’s what an international city is – we need to become a more dynamic international city.  A big part of that means how the city is managed – I don’t think city does as well as we could and I think we can do better.”

Reservation 13 – He says he’s glad the first two buildings are going up and want to see other parcels developed and expects ANC6B to continue to have input, especially through the Hill East Task Force.

SE Boulevard – “It will get going again when Barney circle is complete, that will force the issue.  SE Boulevard is needed to reestablish the community connection and the water.  That will promote development all the way down to the water.”  He said that at one time there had been talk of a land swap to redevelop Potomac Gardens – “maybe that’s what we do – build brand new public housing along Southeast Boulevard, move residents there, and raze and rebuild Potomac Gardens.  I don’t know if that idea is going anywhere, but a lot of people recognize it is a valuable property with the potential of providing a lot of revenue to the city.”

“Great Weight” –  CHC wound up the interview asking what can be done to encourage city agencies to give the ANC opinions the “great weight” to which it is entitled by city regulation?

Jayaraman said, “We have to define what the responsibilities of the agencies are by participating in city council oversight and budget hearings and providing input to councilmembers.”  He said it is essential to actively push back against agencies who fail to take ANC opinion into account, citing a recent decision by DDOT to change parking signs on 7th Street outside of Eastern Market without notice or involvement of ANC6B, and ABRA procedures which allow them to strike down an entire liquor license settlement agreement if they disagree with one section of it.

Jayaraman was born in Bangalore, India and moved to Overland Park, Kansas, when he was four and grew up there.   He studied engineering and then and received a degree in  economics at the University of Kansas.  After college, he worked on several Congressional political campaigns, then as a legislative aide for a member of Congress.  He subsequently worked for a law firm, then as Program Manager of Columbia Heights YouthBuild, and as a research associate for Inclusion Incorporated / Inclusion Research Institute (IRI).  After nearly 10 years at IRI, he started Strategic Educational Consulting, LLC [SEDC] – a private, minority-owned small business which provides expert consulting and training services on emergency preparedness and response to various types of disasters.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the JOBS Coalition, and has been a former Board president and alumni representative at The Hill Preschool.  He is actively involved in Capitol Hill Little League Baseball and tutors middle and high school students in algebra.

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A Couple of Recent Vacancies on Barracks Row…

Garrison restaurant closed its doors a couple of weeks ago.  It just never seemed to catch on in the neighborhood or the larger community.

About the same time that City Bikes gave up – maybe a victim of dockless bikes and scooters.

The close up of the sign on the door is below.

It’s been fun…. (click to enlarge)

 

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ANC6B’s Inaugural Meeting Shows Discord Between Residents and MPD

ANC6B. L-R Commissioner Jennnifer Samolyk; Commissioner Denise Krepp; Commissioner Kelly Waud; Commissioner Denise Krepp; Brian Ready, Parliamentarian; Jerry Sroufe, Secretary; Chander Jayaraman, Chair; Commissioner Steve Holtzman; Kasie Clark, Vice Chair; Corey Holman, Treasurer; Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg.

MPD 1st District Commander, Morgan Kane.

Commander Kane takes questions from the audience at ANC6B last night.

ANC6B’s Inaugural Meeting Shows Discord Between Residents and MPD

by Larry Janezich

Last night ANC6B heard officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) respond to neighbors’ concerns regarding police interaction with three young boys (ages 10-12) last December in front of Frager’s Hardware on E Street, SE.  About two dozen concerned neighbors and activists from Black Lives Matter and The Stop Police Terror Project DC showed up to register complaints about police in a discussion that lasted ninety minutes.

MPD 1st District Commander Kane related the police account to the ANC and assembled residents.  According to her, officers responded to a 911 call from someone who claimed that an elderly gentleman had been threatened with a knife inside the CVS at 12th and E; the caller provided descriptions of three young boys who were alleged to be involved. She said two officers – a primary officer and a partner – responded to the report as a violent assault and possible robbery in progress. The officers located the elderly gentleman and interviewed him.

Meanwhile, a bike unit comprised of a Sergeant and four officers, having heard the radio call and description of those allegedly involved, responded and encountered three young boys matching the description eastbound on E Street.  Kane said the bike unit engaged the kids informally, questioning them regarding a possible crime, and “developing a rapport.” She said the officers told the kids they were not in trouble.

Meanwhile, the two officers who were talking to the elderly gentleman determined that he said he had been followed into the CVS, had “perceived” a knife, and was scared.  Kane added that “maybe the boys had been playing in a construction site” nearby. Officers determined that there was no robbery and no assault. The elderly gentleman wanted to go home and not pursue the matter.

The primary officer and her partner then met the bike unit and the boys in front of Frager’s, and asked the bike team Sergeant if the kids had a knife and if he had patted them down. The tone the primary officer took with the boys was “strong,” Kane said, offering her view that it reflected the fact that the officer had lost a son to gun violence and her concern that the boys not end up the same way. No knife was found after the pat down.

Kane said: “They should’ve been patted down from the beginning, but the police were trying to make the children feel comfortable.”  The officers huddled, Kane said, to figure out how to proceed, and within 8 minutes of encountering the boys, decided parents had to be called.

The following points were made by members of the audience in response to Kane’s narrative.

  • Black people are being over-policed in this community, often subject to attention from police while carrying out innocuous or ordinary activities.
  • The total length of time of the encounter was 39 minutes – kids were detained after no weapon was found and no crime had been committed – an inordinate amount of time that amounted to a form of detention.
  • Why can’t they see the video from the officer’s body cameras?
  • One of the officers mocked a resident who was videotaping the incident.

In response, Kane stated that “we don’t make up these descriptions”; this was a in response to a violent crime that appeared to be in progress and “we were able to work it out.”

Regarding the inordinate amount of time involved, Kane said, “That’s how long it took for a parent to get there.”

With regard to the release of body camera footage, MPD’s FOIA official, Inspector Parker, cited the expensive redactions to protect identities of children and uninvolved parties passing by, and well as confidential radio communications picked up by the body cams as well as restrictions which protect juveniles.  She said body cam videos are routinely viewed by those directly involved or their attorneys, but whether a video can be released to the public is ultimately in the hands of the MPD police chief.

Kane said the officer alleged to be mocking the resident videotaping was actually laughing and joking with her, encouraging her to come closer to take the video.

When Kane was asked if she thinks there is long-term damage to children from being criminalized, Kane said, “Absolutely. But we give back on the other side … build a foundation of trust. These uniforms are intimidating. I know how the children felt and I’m not down-playing that.  We need to build a rapport….I’m open to however you want to partner….we can’t do it alone.  We need you.  We know what the problem is.”

After some 90 minutes, the discussion wound up with comments from a resident, a woman who one person in the audience identified as having taken a video of the event.  The woman said that she saw this as the beginning of a long hard process. “I’m glad at the turnout tonight – it’s great validation. I had hoped to see MPD open and understanding, but I’m disappointed. You say you understand, but the tone and conversation is telling us we’re not feeling what we feel and not seeing what we saw. I wish you had entered the meeting with an open heart and mind. What we hear is we are wrong and you are right.  I don’t think that’s correct. You have not proven we can trust you.”

ANC6B Chair Chander Jayraman announced that he had been in communication with CM Charles Allen, who asked for time to review the video and have a conversation with MPD. Allen can’t release the video, but he can provide comment and talk publicly about it.

Commissioner Denise Krepp suggested the conversation could continue at the Hill East Task Forcemeeting at 7:00pm at St. Coletta’s on January 28.

In other business, ANC6B elected the following officers: Chander Jayraman, Chair; Kasie Clark, Vice Chair; Corey Holman, Treasurer; Jerry Sroufe, Secretary; and Brian Ready, Parliamentarian.

 

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ANC6A Wades Right into the Parking Swamp

ANC6A. L-R Brian Alcorn, Treasurer; Commissioner Stephanie Zinny; Amber Gove, Chair; Phil Toomajian, Vice Chair; (unnamed commission staff member); Commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert; Commissioner Ruth Hudson; and Mike Soderman, Secretary.

ANC6A Wades Right into the Parking Swamp

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday night at its first meeting of 2019 at Miner School, ANC6A waded right into the parking swamp when it took up a contentious issue involving the proposed conversion of the former Capitol Hill Community Health Clinic at 201 8th Street, NE, (corner of Constitution and 8th NE) to five residential units .  Seems nearby residents object to the by-right conversion of the building and the addition of four more residential units on the site, largely on the basis of the impact on neighborhood parking.

The ANC’s Economic and Zoning Committee had recommended the Commission support the developer’s historic preservation application, conditioned on the developer agreeing to include Residential Parking Permit (RPP) restrictions in the sales documents for all units, i.e., condo purchasers would have to agree not to apply for RPPs. The developer balked at the contingency, claiming the restrictions were not legally enforceable in court, that HPRB has no purview on parking, and that the developer was providing parking by right in accordance with zoning regulations.

Commissioner Mike Soderman objected strongly to supporting the development without the parking restriction, touting the opposition to the project of nearby neighbor “Senator Nelson,” – presumably former Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.).  former Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  Soderman said Nelson could not make that night’s meeting but did send a letter.  (CHC sought to obtain the letter to see exactly what the objections were, but despite assurances from Soderman and a nod from ANC6A Chair Phil Toomajian, the letter was not forthcoming.  6A’s lack of transparency is puzzling.)* See Ed. Note below.

The commission then plunged into a parliamentary quagmire, first agreeing to Soderman’s motion to NOT send a letter of recommendation by a vote of 5 – 2.   When the developer complained he had never seen an ANC vote not to send a letter, some commissioners sought to revisit the issue but the Commission was uncertain how to revive a measure what had been tabled (killed).  Finally, following a muddled interpretation of Robert’s Rules of Order, the commission resurrected the letter in the form of a motion to send a letter of support without the parking restriction language.   That motion failed 3 – 4.

Apparently, leaves ANC6A with hands tied, not able to send any letter – one of support, a letter in opposition, or even a letter stating it has no opinion.  This amounts to a forfeiture of the opportunity to weigh in on the Historic Preservation application at all.

Other ANCs have tried to leverage their “great weight” authority using unconventional means.  ANC6B has used liquor license renewals to pressure bars and restaurants to adopt best operating practices, and, like ANC6A Thursday night, has tried to use the parking issue (technically a matter for the DDOT or the Zoning Board) to influence the outcome historic preservation cases overseen by the HPRB.

What this means is that with no recommendation from the ANC on the historical preservation application, the Historical Preservation Review Board is likely to approve the application as is.  In the end, the developer will likely get the greenlight to proceed with the project and the ANC will have demonstrated they did their best to respond to neighbors’ concerns.  Everybody’s happy.  Except the neighbors.

In other business, the ANC elected its officers for the coming term:  Chair, Amber Gove; Vice Chair, Phil Toomajian; Vice Chair, Amber Gove; Secretary, Mike Soderman; Treasurer, Brian Alcorn.

Update:  Ed. Note.  CHC obtained the letter from another source.  The letter, on Nelson’s retired Senate letterhead, and signed by three other neighbors, reads in part:

“We want it to be clearly understood that we support the redevelopment and revitalizing of older buildings particularly projects that add to the appearance of the neighborhood, increase safety and add to property values…..

But to be supportive the process must involve the inclusion of neighbors before being rushed through the required various levels of review and approval. To date only a handful of individual neighbors have been made aware of the clinic project and/or contacted and shown the project plans. We were contacted first by ANC6A Commissioner Mike Soderman who directed us to Bobby Akines of Ditto.  The outreach has essentially been initiated by the neighbors and not by Ditto. As a result, the balance of the neighborhood is being ignored.

In addition, it appears that all redevelopment details, including the relocation of the main entrance, have been finalized without any neighborhood input.  It also appears to be on a ‘fast track” for final approval without additional opportunities for more neighborhood consultations.

We are asking to delay taking any action on this project until we and other neighbors have had the opportunity to discuss this major renovation project and to attend a Meeting and present our thoughts and concerns to you.

We fear that without a careful review of the plan for the relocation of the main entrance to face the west side of 806 Constitution and the resulting new increased foot traffic, the proposed use of the space between the building and the adjacent building at 806 Constitution as “commons” area, and other critical aspects of the plan more challenges will arise which will leave the neighborhood with no recourse.”

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