The Week Ahead…CM Allen Holds MPD Oversight Hearing on Thursday (Clear Streets Initiative)

Eastern Market South Hall, February 22, 2018, circa 9:30pm.

The Week Ahead…CM Allen Holds MPD Oversight Hearing on Thursday (Clear Streets Initiative)

by Larry Janezich

Monday, February 26

ANC6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm at Eastern High School, Parent Center, 1700 East Capitol Street NE (Enter from East Capitol Street).

Among items on the draft agenda:

Grant Presentation – Ludlow Taylor Elementary School

ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

The committee will resume regular meetings on the third Monday of the month beginning in March.

ANC6A is seeking volunteer committee members.

Presentation from the owners of Loaf Coffee, 101 15th Street, NE.

Request for support of petition to rename the 200 block of 10th Street, NE, in honor of William Outlaw .

Review of Public Space Application for 809 12th Street NE (Horace and Dickie’s).

Tuesday, February 27

ANC6B Executive Committee will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the next meeting of the full ANC6B on March 13.

PSA 106 will not meet in February.  PSA 106 will be moving to a bi-monthly meeting in March with a special meeting on Monday, March 19 at 7:00pm at Capital Quarter Community Center @ 1000 5th Street, SE.

Wednesday, February 28

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) will meet at 7:00pm in North Hall, Eastern Market, 225 7th Street, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Strategic Plan Process for Eastern Market and Status of the 300 block

Market Managers Report: Status of the Leases, Financials, Eastern Market Main Street

Thursday, March 1

The City Council Committee on the Judiciary & Public Safety will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing at 9:30am in Room 120 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

The following agencies will testify:

Metropolitan Police Department

Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department

Office of the Attorney General

Department of Forensic Sciences

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Go here to watch a live stream:

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Amazon Protesters Disrupt Mayor’s Watkins School Budget Forum

A group of activists protesting the Mayor’s incentives for Amazon’s new second HQ take their objection directly to the Mayor.

Boswer took the interruption in stride.

Here’s a wider view of the protest.

More than 200 residents showed up to offer input on shaping the FY 2019 budget.

Amazon Protesters Disrupt Mayor’s Watkins School Budget Forum

by Larry Janezich

Activists disrupted Mayor Bowser’s budget engagement forum at Watkins School last Thursday.  The group who – according to City Paper** – is affiliated with the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America were protesting Mayor Bower’s secret package of incentives offered to lure Amazon to DC as the site of its second headquarters.  Incentives they say could be better spent on housing and education.

Bowser had begun to address the more than 200 residents who were participating in what she called the effort of “helping us balance the budget” when protestors sitting near the stage where Bowser was speaking, rose and unfolded a sign that said “Fund Communities Not AMAZON!” and the hashtag “#ObviouslyNotDC”. ***

Unfazed by the interruption and chants of “Money for schools – Money for housing,” Bowser continued to speak, until she broke off and repeatedly said “thank you” as security people escorted the group out of the gymnasium.  MPD Chief of Police Peter Newsham was on hand, though it was unclear whether this was the only budget forum he’d attended.

The forum was the second of three community meetings designed to give residents an opportunity to share their values and priorities with the Mayor before the FY 2019 budget is finalized.  Participants received an overview of the current FY 2018 budget and participated in small group discussions about how funds should be allocated.  Residents were asked to allocate $100 among the following fields: Education, Public Safety, Jobs and Economic Opportunity, Housing, Government Operations, and Health and Human Services.

Total dollars allocated to those fields in the current FY 2018 are as follows:

$2.5 billion (23%) – Education

$1.3 billion (12%) – Public Safety

$453 million (4%) – Jobs and Economic Opportunity

$325.6 million (3%) – Housing

$1.7 billion (15%) – Government Operations

$4.6 billion (43%) – Health and Human Services

** Here’s a link to the City Paper’s coverage of the event:

***Here’s a link to the protest group’s Obviously Not DC’s website:


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MPD Plan for Major Parking Disruption on Capitol Hill a “Bad Idea” Says CM Allen

MPD would ban parking on these streets on or near Capitol Hill on the evening of Friday, March 9th until after the finish of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on Saturday, March 10.

Here’s a bigger picture of the streets affected by the no parking policy.

Councilmember Charles Allen at Friday morning’s community office hours

MPD Plan for Major Parking Disruption on Capitol Hill a “Bad Idea” Says CM Allen

by Larry Janezich

Friday morning, CM Charles Allen criticized an MPD plan to clear marathon and other race routes of parked cars the night before the event as a “bad idea.”  The new MPD policy – the “Clean Route Initiative” – will be first effective for the March 10 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon which includes 26 miles of streets many of which traverse the length and breadth of the city, including more than 60 blocks on or near Capitol Hill.  Allen’s remarks came during his regular community office hours at Radici across from Eastern Market.

MPD has not provided a rational for the proposal nor has it asserted that there is a credible threat to the race.  Allen said he wants a safe event but he doesn’t see how removing every vehicle from the race route guarantees that, adding, “I’m not interested in security theater.”  He has asked MPD to reexamine whether the plan is necessary.

MPD policies are not subject to public comment or review, and CHC asked Allen if he is prepared to pursue a legislative fix if MPD insists on clearing the streets.  Allen replied that he wants to give the Chief of Police a chance, and can better answer that question after his (Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety’s oversight) hearing on MPD next week.

MPD’s “Clean Route Initiative” would affect not only the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but all other marathons and races, including the 33 blocks of the school fund raising event “Capitol Hill Classic” scheduled for May 20.  Cars which have not been removed will be towed at the expense of the race organizer – in the latter’s case a group of three DC Public schools.

Capitol Hill residents have long suffered the imposition of outside for-profit races such as the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon (with 25,000 participants) in terms of inconvenience, difficulty in negotiating city streets, trashed start and finishing points, and noise of early morning event organizing.  To ask them to find parking for some 1500 cars by pushing them out into neighborhoods beyond the race route seems unreasonable.  It appears to be one more example of the city and its agencies prioritizing revenue over the quality of life of its residential community.

The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Oversight hearing will be on Thursday, March 1, at 9:30am in Room 120 of the Wilson Building at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.


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Developer Yields on Church’s Mechanized Parking Lift – But Not On Curb Cut for 16 Car Parking Plan

Ebenezer Church parking plan without mechanized lift.  (Click to enlarge)


Ebenezer Church parking plan with mechanized lift.


Developer Yields on Church’s Mechanized Parking Lift – But Not On Curb Cut for 16 Car Parking Plan

by Larry Janezich

The developer for Ebenezer Church’s townhouse and associated parking plan has thrown in the towel on a proposed 16 car mechanized parking structure behind the Church.  Instead, the developer will be back before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on Thursday, with a new plan which anticipates a curb cut on 5th Street which will permit access to a proposed 16 space parking lot where the parking structures and five additional parking spaces had been planned.  Under the new plan the developer says 16+/- cars could be parked.   The old plan with the mechanized lift would have accommodated a total of 21.

The two plans are illustrated in the schematics above, and the new plan is described by the developer as follows:

“Additional on-grade parking is proposed for the rear of the project.

This will include 16± on-grade parking spaces;

All parking will include appropriate landscaping that will add to the character of the place as well as mitigate any visual concerns to its neighbors.”

The developer chose to bring the altered concept back to HPRB without seeking input from ANC6B.  On January 9, ANC6B opposed the original project by a vote of 4 – 2 – 2.  In a letter to HPRB, the ANC noted that they found the project would contribute to a loss of historically significant green space within the square, that construction on the interior of a square without a public alley does not constitute ‘in-fill’ development in the way it is generally understood, and that the construction of a parking screen in a square without an alley is incongruous with the historic  nature of the square. It would also have an adverse impact on the abutting neighbors which the Commission would prefer to prevent.”  Presumably, the ANC’s opposition to the loss of green space would stand against the new plan as well.  It’s likely an ANC6B representative will clarify the Commission’s position at the hearing.

The Historic Preservation Review Board will meet on Thursday at 441 4th Street, NW in Room 220-South.  The parking proposal for Ebenezer Church (400-418 D Street SE, HPA 17-488, revised concept/construct parking structures) is scheduled for the 10:00am -10:45am time slot.  Applicants and those interested in testifying should arrive at least fifteen minutes prior to the assigned time for the case.

Capitol Hill Corner’s report on the HPRB’s vote against the previous parking plan is here:



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Aimee Grace Resigns as ANC6B07 Commissioner

ANC6B07 Commissioner Aimee Grace shares a laugh with CM Charles Allen at a meeting on the final design for the Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks Design.

Aimee Grace Resigns as ANC6B07 Commissioner

by Larry Janezich

Aimee Grace, ANC6B07, officially announced her resignation today.  The announcement has been expected since last December.  An excerpt from her statement to constituents follows:

“To our wonderful 6B07 community-

In bittersweet news, I submitted my letter of resignation (attached) as ANC 6B07 Commissioner today.  As you may recall, I announced in December 2017 that I need to resign given a change in my husband’s job and our decision to move home to Hawaii to be closer to family.

It has been a great honor to work alongside all of you, and I will miss being your ANC 6B07 Commissioner.  However, I will remain engaged in our community, particularly to ensure the completion of the Potomac Ave SE parks renovation project in 2018.  Thank you for being such a terrific community, and for your efforts to ever improve our great neighborhood.”

Grace, in her first term as ANC6B Commissioner, was instrumental in getting city funding for the renovation of two problematic triangle parks on Potomac Avenue, SE.  See here:

The move leaves two vacancies on the ANC6B board – commissioner Hoskins announced her resignation on February 4 because of the demands of a new job.

The usual procedure for filling vacant seats once ANC6B declares a vacancy is by special election at a time and place determined by the ANC.  Capitol Hill Corner will post the details as they become available.  A map of ANC6B is below.  Potential candidates should contact the DC Board of Elections on the procedures for establishing candidacy.  See here:   If only one candidate emerges, the usual procedure is for the ANC to declare that candidate the new commissioner.



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The Week Ahead….CM Allen holds community office hours on Friday at Radici

Councilmember Charles Allen at ANC6B last week, briefing the Commission on the work of his Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety including upcoming oversight hearings. Allen will hold community office hours on Friday, February 23, at 8:00am at Radici. 303 7th Street, SE.

The Week Ahead….CM Allen holds community office hours on Friday at Radici

by Larry Janezich

Monday, February 19 – President’s Day  

No ANC meetings.  No trasn/recycling pick up.  Service will resume on the day following your regular pickup.

Tuesday, February 20

CANCELLED ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee

The DC City Council’s Committee on Transportation & The Environment will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing at 1:00pm, in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. 

The Department of General Services is scheduled to testify.

Wednesday, February 21

ANC6A Economic Development & Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

1226 North Carolina Avenue, NE – Zoning adjustment to permit enclosing a rear, third floor deck in an existing one-family dwelling

Discussion – Loaf Coffee:  Members of the community have expressed concern about Loaf Coffee, a new coffee shop that has opened at 101 15th Street ,NE.  The concerns raised focus on whether Loaf Coffee plans to sell or provide marijuana-related products and the nature of some of their marketing material.

Eastern Market Main Street’s First Annual Meeting, 6:00pm, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, The Yards.  For more information and to rsvp, see here:

Community meeting to solicit input on reuse of Marine Barracks Building 20 (on 8th Street, next to the freeway), 6:00pm, Tyler Elementary School, 1001 G Street, SE.

Thursday, February 22

Eastern Market Tenants’ Council meets at 7:30pm, in the Market Manager’s Office in Eastern Market.  Among items on the draft agenda:

Eastern Market Vendor Agreement

Discussion of the new Merchant Parking Permitting for North Hall alley parking.

The Mayor’s 2018 Budget Forum, 6:30pm, Watkins Elementary School, 420 12th Street, SE.

ANC6B’s Comprehensive Plan Working Group meets at 7:00pm, Hill Center. 

Public hearing on DC’s Smart Lighting Project’s effort to modernize the District’s 75,000+ streetlights.  6:30pm to 8:30pm at Capitol View Neighborhood Library, 5001 Central Avenue, SE

To learn more about the project and register to attend a hearing, please visit or call (202) 724-2128.

Friday, February 23

Councilmember Charles Allen holds community office hours at Radici, 303 7th Street, SE.

Saturday, February 24

Public hearing on DC’s Smart Lighting Project’s effort to modernize the District’s 75,000+ streetlights.  6:30pm to 8:30pm at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library at 3160 16th Street, NW. 

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Wine & Butter Café Brings Sidewalk Café to Lincoln Park in May

In May, Wine & Butter – formerly P&C Market – will add a sidewalk cafe (as below) in the space on the left.

ANC6B recommended approval of this public space application for Wine & Butter last week. Click to enlarge.

Wine and Butter Café Brings Sidewalk Café to Lincoln Park in May

by Larry Janezich

Last May, after Attilla Suzer and spouse Lisa Friedman leased the space formerly occupied by P&C Market on 11th Street across from Lincoln Park, they kept the original idea of P&C and expanded the operation to sell a full line of prepared coffee drinks and pastries from an authentic French bakery in Rockville.

Now the couple plan to open an 8 table sidewalk café in May and offer wine by the glass as well as non-alcoholic drinks with their pastries and sandwiches.  Tuesday night, ANC6B signed off on the public space application.

Suzer and Friedman, who live a few doors away, also own Bacio Pizza in Bloomingdale.  Why Wine and Butter?  Attilla says it’s to emphasize the shop’s line of wines as well as remind customers the shop continues to carry the line of grocery products offered by P&C.

Wine & Butter added a full line of prepared coffees and hot chocolate…

and pastries….

and more pastries and baguettes.

Your host, Attilla Suzer is pictured with an employee, Juliana Lessar.  An earlier version of this story mis-identified Ms. Lessa as Juliana Suzer in both the photo caption and the text of the article.  CHC regrets the error.  


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Here’s the Final Design Concepts for Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks Recommended by ANC6B 

The city will move this spring to implement a redesign of these two triangle parks on Potomac Avenue, SE, between 12th and 13th Streets.


Here’s the final design for one – click to enlarge.


And here’s the other.

Here’s the Final Design Concept for Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks Recommended by ANC6B

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC6B voted unanimously to support the design concept for two triangle parks on Potomac Avenue SE, between 12th and 13th Streets.  Following through on work started by her ANC predecessor (Daniel Chao), Aimee Grace organized a group of stakeholders who were successful in persuading CM Charles Allen to find $500,000 in the current FY Budget to upgrade the parks.

This spring/summer, the Department of General Services will hire a design-build company to produce construction drawings, obtain permits, and get regulatory approvals.

Actual construction is expected to start in the fall of 2018.

For a previous post on this project, go here:


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City Ready to Move on Phase 1 of Eastern Market Metro Plaza Redesign – Playground and Gathering Space

Preliminary schematic for the re-design of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  Parcel 1 will be the first part of the plan to see reality.  

Preliminary sketch of how the playground and gathering place in Parcel 1 might look.

City Ready to Move on Phase 1 of Eastern Market Metro Plaza Redesign – Playground and Gathering Space

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, the Department of General Services announced that the city is ready to move on Phase 1 of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Redesign.  Phase 1 will be the children’s playground and community gathering space in the park which constitutes the NE portion of the Plaza – designated “1” in the photo above.  The news came from Anthony DeLorenzo, Urban Planning Project Manager for the Department of General Services, at the ANC6B monthly meeting in Hill Center.

DeLorenzo said that DGS would issue a request for proposals to re-do the park in March, make a selection in April, and have a community kick-off in May.

The project has been a priority of CM Charles Allen, who was successful in getting a budget allocation of $1 million in FY 18, $1 million in FY 19, and $2.5 million in FY 20 for the plan.  At the time, Allen said that $4.5 million will not do everything, but it will fund improvements, engage the city, and provide momentum.  See Allen’s report to the community here:

DeLorenzo said that the first year will be for design and planning and the second year for construction.  DGS expects the project to be completed in 2020.  The Department of Parks and Recreation is working with Barracks Row Main Street to install playground equipment in the park over the summer from a community benefit from the Hine project, part of community compensation for the increase in mass and density required for the project.  That equipment will be incorporated into the redesign as it progresses.

For more on the development of the project and additional illustrations, see CHC post here:

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What’s Really Happening with Director Hughes and the DC Office of Open Government?

Tameka Carroll, Director of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability

Traci Hughes, Director of the Office of Open Government

What’s Really Happening with Director Hughes and the Office of Open Government?

by Larry Janezich

The Board of Ethic’s intention to take over the independent Office of Open Government (OGG) became clear when​, during a DC City Council oversight hearing last Thursday,​ Board Director Tameka Collier said:  “The main issue for the board is we don’t have the authority to tell Director Hughes (Director of the Office of Open Government) “maybe you shouldn’t pursue this.”  This​ bottom line answer came in response to a question asked by CM Silverman: “Can you tell us why Traci Hughes was not reappointed to another term as the head of OGG?”

Councilmember Charles Allen, chair of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, convened the government oversight hearing; more than two hours were spent​ discussing the decision of the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability (BEGA) to not reappoint Traci Hughes as Director of the Office of Open Government. ​  Citing a refusal to discuss ongoing personnel matters in public, Board Director Collier declined to provide any reasons for the move that related to Traci Hughes’ job performance. ​

​Instead, what became clear over the course of the hearing is that the Board of Ethics wants control of the Office of Open Government, which is in the organizational tree below the Ethics Board, but independent of it.  ​No information was produced that suggested Hughes abused this independence.  Instead,​ ​Hughes testified that lacking specific guidance from BEGA she carried out her function under the authority delegated to her by law.  In keeping with her mandate, Hughes informed BEGA regarding the ongoing operations of her office ​on a monthly basis.  Collier said that it is difficult to advocate for or oversee the Open Government Office when the statute is interpreted as limiting the information to which the Board of Ethics is entitled to” general and courtesy updates from the Director.”

​While no failure of performance was alleged, ​ Hughes has recently ​ ruffled the ​ feathers ​ of powerful interests​.  She challenged the meetings of the United Medical Center Board and the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on Caribbean Community Affairs, finding both fell short of  regulations​ .  Then last October, the open government office found extensive violations of the Open Meetings Law by the DC Commission on Selection and Tenure of Administrative Law Judges.

The latter interaction sparked a letter of complaint against Hughes from the Chief Administrative Judge addressed to Collier.  According to Collier,​ the letter “questioned a number of things from her legal analysis to her overall handling of the case or failure to disclose information – perhaps having an ulterior motive for expanding the investigation.” ​ Elsewhere in the testimony, Collier spoke of the frustration she felt for having to take ownership of regulations and procedures her board had not sign​ed off on, noting that advisory opinions of the Office of Open Government are issued under the Ethics Board letterhead.

In November, Collier initiated a phone conversation with the Mayor’s legal counsel to discuss the “structural problem” regarding the relationship between the Board of Ethics and the Office of Open Government.  Carroll said she called the structural problem “untenable.”

The fix that emerged after the conversation was a decision not renew Hughes’ contract and to re-write the job description for the top job at the Office of Open Government to make clear that the Ethics Board – according to Collier – “expects to approve regulations ahead of time, the board expects to know what’s going on in agency operations, and expects there to be collaboration with Office of Open Government and sharing of resources for efficiencies.”

Another option would be to seek a “legislative fix,” by finding a way to bolster the independence of the Office of Open Government – Hughes had suggested such a fix, urging that OGG be placed under a new oversight board.  But an “executive fix” – the personnel change approach – would keep the open government office under the Ethics Board.  And clarifying the new director’s job description to spell out  exactly what the Board expects, will effectively put the Open Government Agency under the Ethics Board’s control.   ​It would cease to be an independent watchdog.​

Councilmember Allen told Collier he would be happy to look for a way to provide a legislative solution for the structural problem and he said he didn’t see how replacing personnel was the appropriate approach, if indeed there is a structural problem.  Collier’s response could ​be  interpreted as “thanks, but no thanks ​”: ​ Collier told Allen she was “happy to hear you’ll help with the legislative fix, but part of problem is Hughes – her interpretation of the statute makes us completely hands off.”  In the end, Allen appeared to sign off on the  Ethics Board’s proposed “executive fix approach”​; ​ there was no further discussion of a legislative fix to give the board more independence​, nor was any discussion of what it would mean to have the appearance of an independent watchdog without the operational reality of one – namely, a political office dedicated to preserving open meetings provided it did not upset any powerful interests.  ​

Acknowledging earlier testimony supporting Hughes’ work and leadership, notably from two Ward 6 ANC Commissioners – Denise Krepp and Mark Eckenwiler (neither one of whom appeared as representatives of their ANC Boards)​ – and representatives from both DC Watch and the Legal Committee, DC Open Government, Allen ​concluded​:

“I can’t help but feel that I heard from people who feel trust in city government and that that trust has been frayed and in some cases that trust has been broken.  And so I think we will all have work to do to make sure that the public has trust because it is too important not to.  And I think there’s clear work ahead of us because my ears were open today and so I certainly heard a lot of residents and neighbors who care deeply about their city and integrity of their government express frustration and concern about that very integrity and a lot of people who work hard in building and maintaining that integrity.  So I think we’ll all take that conversation today and map out a path forward.”




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