Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Don't forget, 11th Street costume parade, dog parade and more tonight!

Don't forget! Today is the big day, and there's this great event happening on 11th Street for kids, families and dogs.
Halloween Poster

HalloweenPoster Spanish

Halloween bar crawl on Georgia Avenue tonight: Looking Glass, Blue Banana, DC Reynolds

This sounds like fun. I spotted a sign at a few spots along Georgia Avenue for a bar crawl tonight. The participating bars at the Looking Glass Lounge, Blue Banana and DC Reynolds.

If you're in costume, you'll get $4 pints of Cerveza Nacional, the new Vienna lager from Chocolate City Beer, one of DC's new breweries. Pretty good deal.

Here's the poster, though there isn't much more info. Hope there's a big crowd!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1B12

The tenth in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1B12, which you can see at right.

ANC 1B12 is a new district, so there isn't an incumbent. The candidates are Erling (Erl) Bailey, John Green, Zahra Jilani, and Dan Wittels. Wittels didn't respond, but here are the other three candidates' responses.

The idea with these posts is that you can learn about who is running for the ANC in your area and if you'd like, be able to learn more about them via their websites or emails. The ANC advises the city council on local issues and also can issue grants, hold events, and approve or deny liquor licenses.

There's a map of all the ANCs here.

John Green:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a DC native. I have lived in the DC metropolitan area practically all my life. The U Street Corridor has been my home for almost 3 years now. Prior to that, I lived in the Shaw neighborhood for more than five years.

I work as the political content manager for American Bridge 21st Century. Before that, I worked as an Equal Opportunity Employment specialist for five years. I hold a master's degree in public policy, with a focus on regional economic development, which helps me understand and navigate the zoning, commercial and legislative issues facing our residents and businesses.

I am passionate about our community and I believe I can be an effective public servant who can improve the 1B12 neighborhood and make it even greater than it is today.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
At times, I feel that few people in the community are even aware of what the duties of an ANC Commissioner are or that the position even exists. Therefore, I am running to bring more visibility to this newly formed district (1B12) and leadership on day one.

As I said in my Borderstan interview, I am uniquely qualified to represent the needs of the diverse constituency that calls U Street home. Furthermore, I bring a passion for community involvement that will make be a great advocate for every resident in my single-member district.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
The two biggest issues confronting my district are crime and the pace of economic development occurring in the U Street area.

As your next ANC Commissioner, I will work to reduce violent crime and property damage by brining together developers, businesses and residents.

I support a moderate growth strategy that balances the needs of our city to grow, while keeping with the integrity of our community and the desires of the people who live and work here. It will also be my aim to bring more public arts and green space to our neighborhood.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
The U Street Corridor is going through a period of tremendous economic growth and an effective ANC Commissioner must hear the concerns of the residents in our district - not political elites and developers. I feel that concerns of the community sometimes get left out of the conversation. Therefore, I will work to have residents better informed and will institute a 24-hour policy for answering constituent questions.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
I support initiatives that will improve the appearance of our streets and will aggressively hold the city's sanitation and maintenance authorities accountable.

I will fight to obtain recycling bins on busy street corners. I am firm believer that cleaner streets equal happier residents and more community pride.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
The regulating of liquor licenses is one of many important duties an ANC Commissioner has to consider. It requires an ANC Commissioner to balance the needs of the residents and businesses. I would not take this obligation lightly and would first seek community input before registering my vote.

Zahra Jilani:


1. Tell us a bit about yourself 
I have always been passionate about improving our local community, whether it be through my work as an after school tutor at Davis Elementary in South East, my involvement in the Big Brother Big Sister program, or my current role as intern to ANC 1B.  I continue my deep commitment to public service in my day job at the American Diabetes Association.  I fell in love with DC after attending George Washington University, and after gaining experience working in community development abroad I returned to U Street in order to make a positive change to our vibrant and historic district.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running for ANC because I believe that our community needs a voice during this important time.  Residents need to have a stake in what happens in their own neighborhood, and I am prepared to make sure this happens. I am familiar with the local political process through my work with the ANC and know how to voice my constituents’ concerns effectively and efficiently.

3. What are the biggest areas confronting your district?
Through continuous conversations with members of my district, I have found that safety is a big concern in light of recent crimes.  Lieutenant Harrington pointed out at the last PSA meeting that at the last two U Street shootings, there were officers present at the scene of the crime.  More policemen isn’t the only answer.  If elected, I will work closely with MPD to get policemen out of their cars and onto the streets, knowing our district well enough that they can prevent these crimes before they occur.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
I have not missed an ANC meeting since moving to my district, and have good insight into what can be improved and how.  If elected, my first task will be to improve communication with my constituents so we can bring to light the most prevalent community concerns.  I have already started to implement this plan by creating the ANC 1B newsletter – if you have any input or announcements that need posting, please contact me at zahrajilani.anc1b12@gmail.com. I have also started to develop a list of emails of all the members of our district so residents can have continuous input through an ANC B12 list serve.  Communication is the key to a cohesive community, and I will continue open and transparent communication if elected.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
Our area needs more recycling bins and composting plans for an environmentally sustainable community.  We need more resident parking spaces.  We need productive discourse between businesses and residents through the ANC process. And most of all, our residents need more of a voice in what happens in their own community.  I have the knowledge and dedication to be that voice, and I am fully prepared to work with residents to create a safer, greener, and more connected 1B12.

6. One of the ANC’s jobs is to regulate liquor licenses.  What are your thoughts on these issues?
I think that we need an eclectic mix of businesses in our community, and need to work closely with ABRA to carefully scrutinize each liquor license application as it is presented.  A liquor license doesn’t necessarily mean the business will be a bar or club, which I think we can all agree U street is already saturated with.  Kramer Books in Dupont is a great example of an establishment that utilizes its liquor license to promote and encourage education through reading, and I welcome similarly creative uses of space in our district.  I know that with effective community input and productive discourse between businesses and residents, we can foster a mix of businesses that will work to enhance and encourage the arts and culture of our neighborhood.

My Facebook is Zahra Jilani - Commissioner for 1B12 and my email is zahrajilani.anc1b12@gmail.com

Erling (Erl) Bailey:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Erling (Erl) Bailey and I am seeking the vote from 1B12 constituants on November 6th for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the newly created single member district, 1B12.

I am proud to call Washington my home for nearly thirty years. We are very fortunate to be part of a city where it’s history, economy, culture and diversity create dynamic communities in which individuals can evolve and grow. This past August marked my 20-year anniversary of living in my NW T Street, 1B12 district home. As a long time resident, I know, we need to work together to ensure a bright future for our neighborhoods.

I was born and raised in southern Virginia where I learned the values of hard work, commitment, education, community and public service. After high school, I moved to Norfolk, VA, where I earned a BS degree from Old Dominion University and began working as a Department of Defense (DoD) Information Systems Contracting Professional. I relocated to Washington, DC to begin a 25-year career working for a government contracting firm where I led a range of projects (DoD and State Municipal).

During my DC based contractor career, all my work assignments were Virginia based and some over an hours commute, but I dedicated myself to becoming part of the DC Community. I bought a home, earned a Masters degree from American University and an MBA from George Mason University, made friends and became part of something special. My dedication and desire to be a part of this community far out weighed the convenience of moving for a shorter commute to work. Then and now, I remain committed to the District and have confidence in the future of this community.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running because 1B12 needs a commissioner who understands the policies and programs affecting our neighborhood and provides residents and business owners information that supports group decision-making and community choices. Our community has experienced unprecedented economic growth and development in the last decade. As ANC Commissioner, I want to provide information to residents that will be the foundation for empowered decision-making and community choices encouraging smart growth. . How we respond to the environmental, social, and economic challenges ahead is critical .We need someone that encourages community dialogue and empowers our neighborhood to maintain and grow our quality of life. That is why I am running for ANC commissioner.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district? 
I think the overall level of awareness within our community is something I am concerned about. My candidacy reflects a desire to leverage the strengths of our community through collaboration, networking and relationship building.

Specifically:

1. Identifying and locating resources that already exist within the community, and then making the most of those assets to support actions;

2. Provide data and information that help people think strategically about prioritizing actions and the choices they face as a community;

3. Level any ideological differences that may get in the way of positive, forward looking thinking

4. Lay the groundwork for any policy change as it relates to economic development, crime and safety, use of public space and preservation of neighborhood character and history.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better? 
Communicate with the constituents. Communication is key in developing a community that is involved and feels a sense of ownership. It is key to obtaining our goal of a connected and invested community where we share important information. I intend to offer a tool box of resources through the ANC 1B12 website that will be a collaborative place where residents and business concerns/issues are recognized, solutions considered, opinions are polled, plans are implemented, information is shared, and knowledge is stored. This collaborative forum will offer a single place to become informed and be heard. Various opinions will be expressed in the form of dialogue so all invested will be able to make a more informed decision on the choices affecting our community.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
I have always been a strong supporter of Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) and the range of supplemental services they deliver including investment in long-term economic development. Planned BID’s with active community engagement have many advantages including cleaner, safer and more attractive business district; a steady and reliable funding source for supplemental services and programs; the ability to respond quickly to the changing needs of the business community; the potential to increase property values, improve sales and decrease commercial vacancy rates; a district that is better able to compete with nearby retail and business centers.

Another topic of interest to me is sustainable neighborhood planning. Sustainable neighborhoods are diverse, compact, walkable, and connected. The presence an economically sustainable unit is marked by green spaces, complete streets, and mixed-use, mixed-income development. The prospect of a virtuous cycle of economic development, where new businesses and residents are brought in, increasing local real-estate values, and reducing transportation costs is an area, I think, deserves more attention.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
My initial review of the facts concerning the distribution and regulation of liquor licenses has resulted in some conflicting data points, which are being used and presented to baseline our current state. I would like to conduct a more in-depth investigation to determine our true current situation and then assess potential possibilities concerning what needs to be done. The findings and possible stances moving forward will need to be given to the constituents so we as a collective group can determine the direction of district 1B12.

Cool events coming up at Acre 121: Halloween party, Dia de los Muertos, oysters

Sounds like some good eats and good times at Acre 121, the Low Country restaurant at 14th and Irving:
True Blood Halloween Party, Wednesday, October 31 Celebrate Halloween in True Blood style at Acre 121 with DJ Jeremy, and a live performance from Once Okay Twice, drink specials: $3.50 16oz Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, $5 select red wines by the glass, & a $8 signature True Blood Martini, as well as a costume contest and prizes!

Dia de los Muertos Fiesta, Friday, November 2, 9pm with costume contest, drink specials, and live music from The Highballers.

Oyster Dinner, Wednesday, November 7, Five courses of oysters each featuring a different cooking technique: raw, stuffed & baked, stewed, fried, broiled, plus an oyster free finale! Reservations are necessary and can be made on our contact page or by calling (202)328-0121. The cost is $50 per person or $175 for 4; plus tax and gratuity. We will be offering oyster friendly wines and beers at special prices.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do you live in "The GaP"? No, because it's a terrible name.

How do you define our neighborhoods?

A buddy recently sent this along: the City Paper noted that a commenter on PoP, talking about something unrelated, coined a new term:
Our house is in the GaP . . . near the Ga Ave.-Petworth (GaP) metro, the neighborhood nestled in the gap between Columbia Heights, Petworth, Crestwood, and 16th St. Heights
The GaP is a terrible name. Admittedly it's a little bit clever, but I hate those cutesy, manufactured nicknames like NoMa, AdMo and CoHi.

Plus how is there a gap? North of Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights, you have Crestwood to the west and Petworth to the east. North of that it's 16th Street Heights and Brightwood. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't really a "gap." North of Columbia Heights and Park View is Petworth. That's it.

The Post talks about 14th Street Heights but says it's almost totally surrounded by 16th Street Heights.

DCist also got into it, and the original PoP poster responded there with a rambling argument, including that 10th and Randolph is in Columbia Heights according to their house's tax assessment -- the tax neighborhood argument is one we've debunked here before, as the tax neighborhoods have nothing to do with the actual neighborhoods. Tax documents also claim North Capitol Street is in Columbia Heights, and there are no such neighborhoods as Logan Circle, Adams Morgan, or Shaw, but there are places called Old City I and Old City II. Tax documents say Adams Morgan is part of "Garfield," whatever that is.

Here's my updated map of where I think the boundaries are, with Petworth in light blue and Crestwood in Pink. Spring Road isn't a hard border, maybe it's more like Randolph, and I'm not sure really what the northern end of Petworth is -- interested in your opinion! (I wrote about this earlier too, though with more focus on Columbia Heights.) Do agree with me?


View Columbia Heights Borders in a larger map

Monday, October 22, 2012

Awesome Halloween events: parades & costume contests for kids and dogs, trick or treating, more

If you're like me, Halloween is your favorite holiday of the year! And there's a lot of great neighborhood events coming up on the 31st, including a costume contest and parade for kids (which sounds adorable,) a parade and costume contest for dogs (also cool,) trick or treating for the kids, and an "enchanted" house at BloomBars and giveaways from a lot of local businesses.

See below for more, and let's have some fun this Halloween! Also, don't be the house that gives away raisins or toothbrushes. And if you put out a bowl that says "take one," know that the first kid who comes by will just dump the entire bowl into their bag.
Halloween Poster HalloweenPoster Spanish

Friday, October 19, 2012

Help get out the vote in Virginia for Obama this weekend, and phonebanking all week

There's a lot going on this weekend and in the coming days with the DC for Obama campaign. As you may know, Virginia is a key swing state, and Obama won Virginia in 2008 by a narrow margin -- it worked out to a difference of 94 people per precinct, which is maybe one block of houses! And this year it may be even closer, so every vote counts.

The DC for Obama folks are doing a lot of organizing to get DC Obama supporters to Virginia to help go door to door and encourage people to vote, and this weekend is the kickoff!

If you'd like to go to Virginia, you can meet up at 9am or 1pm on Saturday or 11am or 1 pm on Sunday at 915 Spring Rd NW (for half day trips) or 1782 Columbia Rd NW (for whole day trips), and then they'll take you to Virginia (or if you can bring a car to the meetup locations, even better!)

Going door to door is actually pretty easy and a lot of fun, I did it a bunch in Virginia in 2008 for Obama and all you are doing is encouraging people to vote and giving them information on when and where to vote, which the campaign provides. It's the most effective outreach to get people to actually vote, and it's also a great feeling to see that what you're doing has made an impact, like when the Commonwealth went for the President!

There's also a lot of phone banking going on everyday at the new Adams Morgan Obama office, 1782 Columbia Rd NW, and lots of other offices in the area too! I got this flyer from the Ward 4 folks because I couldn't find a Ward 1 one, but there's lots of options. They also need data entry volunteers!

You can also check out the links below or email them for more information, they're super responsive and helpful.


Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A04 (UPDATED)

The ninth in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1A06, which you can see at right.

The idea with these posts is that you can learn about who is running for the ANC in your area and if you'd like, be able to learn more about them via their websites or emails. The ANC advises the city council on local issues and also can issue grants, hold events, and approve or deny liquor licenses.

There's a map of all the ANCs here.

Laina Aquiline is the current (and very active) commissioner of ANC 1A04, and she's running against Sentamu Kiremerwa, who did not respond to emails who just responded on Tuesday. Here are Laina's and Sentamu's answers: 


Laina: 


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have lived in Washington, DC for 14 years – the last six in our home on Meridian Place in Columbia Heights and the two years prior to that in Park View.  I am the wife of Matthew Aquiline and mother of twin three-year-old sons and Tubman Elementary School students, Michael and Mason, and one-year-old daughter, Hiatt.  I am a graduate of American University, have had a career in presidential campaign politics and lobbying for union construction, most recently in my current role as the Director of Advocacy for the Int’l Council of Employers of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.   I am the current Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for Single Member District 1A05 and an active member of Shrine of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church at 16th St. and Park Rd. NW.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running for ANC re-election to improve neighbor-to-neighbor relationships and community pride in Columbia Heights by striving to 1) clean-up the trash and rats in our streets and alleys, 2) improve our parks and playgrounds, 3) encourage local business development that enhances and respects the community and 4) make Tubman Elementary School the premier DC Public School east of Rock Creek Park.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Our alleys and streets are littered with trash and rats – it’s the number one concern expressed to me by constituents.  The fast paced gentrification of Columbia Heights also poses particular challenges in regard to encouraging new residents to make and improve their homes here while also respecting the long-time residents who have seen this neighborhood through its destruction and recovery.   After that, it’s the confusion and lack of strong school choice for our children, and the absence of good, safe green space to play in.  The renovation of Trolley Park at 11th and Monroe is a success story, as is the renovation and preservation of the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza and the triangle park at 14th, Oak and Ogden.  I worked with DPR and DDOT to see those project plans finalized and brought to completion.  We are now in the early stages of beginning the work at 16th St and Park Rd to make it the play space the community deserves.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
The ANC should be more transparent and have better outreach.  The better we know our constituencies and the more engaged the community becomes, the more effective the ANC will be.    

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The area needs more community participation.  We need to know our neighbors, look out for each other, communicate with our commissioners, and express our ideas and concerns in constructive ways by attending public meetings and forums.  We have to show-up and take ownership of our neighborhood.  We need more safe green space where we can gather and our children can play.  We need more of our residents put their faith in and make their contribution to Tubman Elementary School’s continued progress by sending their children there and getting involved in a school with a lot of promise. In short, we need to treat Columbia Heights as it is depicted in my campaign slogan, “Our Home, Our Heights.” 

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I believe liquor licenses are essential and I support voluntary agreements.  I feel there should be as much uniformity as possible, especially within corridors.  What is right for alcohol selling establishment s on 14th St. is not necessarily right for establishments on 11th St.  There are an increasing number of families with young children in our neighborhood and peace and order in late night hours needs to be respected and maintained.

Find my campaign website online at www.lainaaquiline.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lainaaquilineanc.
Follow the Events tab on my website for activities coming up in October.

Sentamu:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Uganda, but grew up in Boston MA. I have lived in the District for a year and I am proud to call Columbia Heights home. I currently reside on 13th st in Columbia Heights. Prior to DC, I studied Amherst College, where I pursued a B.A. in Political Science and Black Studies. I currently work in the Antitrust Division at the United States Department of Justice, and also serve on the Board of directors at Peace of Mind Project, a nonprofit that augments community-driven development initiatives in developing countries.

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running because I believe the challenges our community faces call for a candidate with a strong grasp of local concerns, a fresh perspective and approach to local issues, tangible solutions to neighborhood problems, and a strong commitment to smart growth. Most importantly, these challenges call for a commissioner who will proactively garner input and feedback from residents, local businesses, and civic organizations. If elected, I plan to do just that.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Dirty, pest infested alleyways and streets are a concern for most residents in SMD1a04. Though like all other issues, this particular issue is directly tied to a general lack of understanding among many residents regarding the role and responsibility of ANCs as intermediaries between district agencies and residents. Clearly this is something the ANC needs to work more to address.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
Advisory neighborhood commissioners need to work better to more effectively disseminate information within their respective district. As a candidate one of the ways I have addressed this issue is by creating a website (www.anc1a04.com) that informs residents of ongoing developments within the district and also allows them to give feedback through community surveys that are updated bi-monthly and issued prior to every ANC meeting. If elected, I plan to continue to employ the site to more effectively disseminate information and garner feedback from residents.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The majority of SMD1a04 residents I spoke with expressed the need for more community events, and cleaner and safer streets. As commissioner I will ensure these issues remain a priority for the commission.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I support a case-by-case approach to liquor license regulation.

For more information:
http://www.sentamukiremerwa.com
http://www.anc1a04.com [take time to feel out community survey!!]
votesentamuforanc@gmail.com
Thank you for your time. I hope I can count on your support this

Trolley Park picnic and cleanup this Saturday, plus pumpkin decorating for kids

The Friends of the Trolley Park, the newly renovated park at 11th and Monroe Streets NW, are holding a nice event on Saturday for families and neighbors.
The 11th and Monroe NW Trolley Park will sponsor a picnic, park clean-up and pumpkin decorating event this Saturday, Oct. 20, in the park from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Local businesses will provide food and drink.  Fun for the whole family! 

Meridian Pint, The Coupe, Red Rocks, Maple and KBC are all donating lunch for the event. We will have small pumpkins for kids to decorate and we will clean up the park.
Sounds nice, glad to see this kind of thing. The park used to have a lot of problems with loitering and people drinking in it, but whenever I've walked by since it was renovated, it's been all kids and families. The Friends group seems to be doing a great job.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Charity is Colorblind bar crawl this Saturday

Just got this event from the Network of South Asian Professionals that benefits Teach for America and  the Nanubhai Education Foundation in India. Sounds neat:
Charity is Colorblind U Street Bar on Saturday October 20th from 5-9pm
The participating bars are Ulah Bistro, Tabaq Bistro, and Chi-Cha Lounge. With the purchase of a ticket, participants will receive a wristband and a CIC t-shirt. You may check in at Ulah Bistro from 5-6pm. If you plan on attending after 6pm, please call/text Kamu at 810-394-1457 and she will provide the location of the group. Tickets are $25.

The network of south Asian Professionals (NetSAP) mission is to serve as the unequivocal voice for the South Asian Diaspora by developing and engaging a cohesive network of professionals to benefit the community.  NetSAP launched a Charity is Colorblind Campaign to benefit Teach for America and the Nanubhai Education Foundation. The money raised will sponsor a Teach for America school in DC and teacher professional development activities in India. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Big mixed use projects coming next to 9:30 Club, with arthouse cinema!?



This is interesting: Curbed reports that the 9:30 Club is getting two neighbors, a 310-unit apartment building and a 65-unit one. The 310 one will be replacing the Atlantic Plumbing building at 8th and V (the orange cross-hatched building above) while the other is replacing the building across V Street from it (that's the one in the foreground.)

The project sounds pretty wild: the developers, The JBG Companies, are thinking about including a 6-screen arthouse movie theater in the larger building, which sounds pretty fantastic, and also subsidized art studios and "little farm plots." There's also going to be rooftop pools and rooftop hangout spots.

The Curbed piece might be a little optimistic though, my buddy gave the developers a call and they said they were working on the theater idea but it's not confirmed. Fingers crossed though, I would definitely go to the movies there. In fact, that was one of the What We're Missing posts. I hope it's like Visions used to be, or E Street.

I worry a little that it's too optimistic, and some folks pointed out that residents might not appreciate the noise from 9:30 Club, but hopefully that won't be an issue.

Proposal for bus-only lanes on lower Georgia Avenue -- meeting next week

This is interesting -- the city has proposed two similar options for bus only lanes on Georgia Avenue. Here's more info, and there's a meeting next week to talk about it. I'm not really sure why this is necessary, as buses on Georgia seem a lot faster than those on 14th. But then again, I'm not a transportation planner. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to go to the meeting!
Greetings,

DDOT is proposing exclusive bus lanes on Georgia Avenue between Barry Place and Florida Avenue and wants community engagement in this process. 

They are presenting two options.  The first is for exclusive shared bus and bike lanes north and southbound, with a left turn lane northbound at Barry and a left turn lane southbound at Bryant.  The second proposal includes the first, but makes Barry one way westbound and provides flashing yellow lights 24 hour northbound on Georgia at Barry and southbound at Georgia at Bryant.

The proposals can be downloaded at :
www.ecacollective.org/documents/DDOT_georgia_ave_option1_aug_28_2012.pdf
www.ecacollective.org/documents/DDOT_georgia_ave_option2_aug_28_2012.pdf

The following meetings will be held with DDOT to discuss these options:

Wednesday October 24th at 7pm (GA Ave Community Development Task Force Meeting) at ECAC - 733 Euclid St. NW (accessible entrance in the rear - call (202) 462-2285 if assistance is needed)

For questions on this proposal contact:
Wendy Peckham
Phone: 202-671-4581
Email: wendy.peckham@dc.gov

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A06


The eighth in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1A06, which you can see at right.

The idea with these posts is that you can learn about who is running for the ANC in your area and if you'd like, be able to learn more about them via their websites or emails. The ANC advises the city council on local issues and also can issue grants, hold events, and approve or deny liquor licenses.

There's a map of all the ANCs here.

ANC 1A06 is currently represented by William "Bill" Brown Jr., who is running again but did not respond to a few emails about this questionnaire. His opponents are Patrick W. Flynn and Kevin Clinesmith, both of whom did respond. 

First is Clinsemith:


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
After living in Arlington since 2008, I finally became a true Washingtonian and moved to Columbia Heights (Park Triangle Apartments, 1375 Kenyon St NW) in November 2011 and could not be happier with my neighborhood choice.  Everything from our local farmer’s markets to our culture and diverse options in local businesses creates a small community feeling within our large metropolitan region and has made me feel incredibly welcome.

I was born and raised in a small farming town in rural Michigan, and have degrees from Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan State University College of Law, and the Georgetown University Law Center.   I came to the DC area in 2008 to work for the U.S. Department of Energy, where I have worked in various areas for almost five years.  Previously, I worked in state government in Michigan, primarily in the Governor’s office and Attorney General’s office.   I am an avid college sports fan and marathon runner—in fact, if you see a tall guy with glasses running around the neighborhood in MSU gear, feel free to stop me and say hello or just yell “Go Green!”

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I have always held a strong desire to give back to the communities in which I reside in and make a difference in the lives of others; this feeling is especially strong since moving to the Columbia Heights area because of our exciting, rapid development and numerous opportunities to be locally involved.  I believe that the ANC office is an ideal opportunity for individuals who want embrace their community and have a chance to begin or continue lifelong commitments to public service and help raise the concerns and needs of our neighborhoods to the District government.  Win or lose, I know that the 1A06 Single Member District (SMD) is a community that I will be proud to be an active resident of for many years to come as I continue to find ways to be more involved.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
The Columbia Heights area has grown rapidly over the past few years, which has drastically increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic and changed the landscape of 1A06 quite substantially.  The increase in population has largely created foreseeable headaches associated with a vibrantly developing commercial district, which in turn may cause local residents to have a hard time feeling a sense of community with so many non-residents present at all times.  Nevertheless, 1A06 remains a vibrant area that contains one of the central icons of our community’s culture—the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza—which allows us the opportunity to welcome everyone to our community in a central location while maintaining our own connection through local events which bring us all together.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
In my view, it would be beneficial for the ANC to expand its efforts to bring in more voices from the local communities.  For instance, many individuals—especially residents who are not registered to vote in the District—have little understanding about what the ANC is, what it can do for them, and how they can be more involved in our local government.  I always appreciate the efforts of local ANCs to send out communications via local email listservs, but even that is limited to people who proactively join such forums.  A simple quarterly mailing to residents informing them of issues and how to participate, or even meet and greets at local events, may increase resident interaction which, in turn, will enhance our community’s success.  Sometimes the best way to bridge our community is to return to our offline roots, which requires us to exit our comfort zones and actually introduce ourselves to our neighbors and our community or engage in grassroots movements.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
We need to build a sense of a welcoming culture and community within SMD, not just for visitors to the area, but also for ourselves.  Our area would greatly benefit from a series of seemingly small changes.  Culturally, I would like to see more support for events in the Civic Plaza to encourage local citizens to come out and meet one another, such as public concerts or art shows, and also encourage the continued use of art murals to beautify the locality and instill local pride, as has been done so well at Tubman Elementary School. A greater effort to clean up our neighborhood is needed, perhaps through the installation of more public trash bins—especially on the corners of 13th and Park/Kenyon; or providing increased support for the Ward 1 Clean Team—ideally through partnerships with local businesses that rely on our public spaces to attract customers; and requiring more vermin control around construction areas.  There is also room for improvement to our local dog park, and it would also be beneficial to work in partnership with neighboring SMD’s to promote local cooperation and participation in greater community projects such as Wengari Gardens, which is quickly turning into a successful community garden.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
 While it is important to ensure that careful consideration is made before expanding liquor licenses or changing existing rules, we must ensure that we do not needlessly prevent new, existing, and expanding local businesses from being successful, especially because of the positive impact they have on our local communities in terms of job creation, etc.  So, we should make every effort to responsibly support these local businesses and give due consideration to their requests so long as they do not harm our communities, which in turn requires a careful, case-by-case analysis complimented by a diligent effort to understand public opinion to make a determination. 


His websites: https://www.facebook.com/ClinesmithForANC and https://twitter.com/Clinesmith1A06 

Next is Flynn:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Patrick W. Flynn and I am a resident of Kenyon Street, a real estate agent with Long and Foster, and a civic-minded person who hopes to improve my Columbia Heights neighborhood. I came to the District of Columbia in 2005 to attend Georgetown University with every intention to return to Boston after earning my dual degrees in Government and Theater and Performance Studies. But from the moment I moved to our vibrant neighborhood, I knew I wanted to make DC, and Columbia Heights, my permanent home. I love this neighborhood and I would like to utilize my drive and team building skills to be a leader for the community and address the important issues specific to Columbia Heights and ANC 1A06. 

2. Why are you running for ANC?
I want to improve neighborhood safety, reform parking regulations, and foster a sense of community for all who live, work, and go to school in ANC 1A06. Every day as I walk around our single member district 1A06, whether it be to the Metro station for work, or to the park with my rescue dog Rosie, or to preview a new property that’s come on the market, I see an area that has so much potential. But I’m tired of seeing empty beer cans haphazardly tossed in a garden that my neighbor works so hard to maintain; I’m tired of seeing newly planted trees left to wither away without water; I’m tired of not being able to find parking on my street after work; and I’m tired of seeing the red and blue lights in the neighborhood at night and wondering if it’s safe for my elderly mother to come visit me. It’s not in my nature to wait for someone else to fix a problem so I formulated a plan and decided to run for ANC.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
I think some of the big issues are: 1) Neighborhood safety 2) Lack of clear and adequate parking regulation and signage 3) Litter, graffiti and improper disposal of trash 4) Rodents 5) The need to improve property maintenance and upkeep

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
I think the ANC should be building a better community through education and outreach. Many public resources exist that, when combined with the efforts of private citizens, could make Columbia Heights truly great, if only the residents knew about them. For example, I wonder how many people knew that in the days following the June 30 “Derecho” wind storm that the city offered free tree removal. I wonder how many people know that they can call the department of transportation and get a free parking pass to allow their guests to park on zoned city streets without fear of ticketing. I wonder how many people know they can adopt the baby street tree of their choice and become a “canopy keeper” and the city will come out and put a 10 gallon cistern around it for them to fill and keep the city and the neighborhood green. I wonder how many people know that when it’s forecasted to be above 90 degrees trash collection begins an hour earlier. I wonder how many people know when and where the ANC holds its meetings? I wonder who knows what’s proposed for the vacant lot at 1368-1370 Kenyon Street? It’s the ANC’s responsibility to make people aware of these things and so much more and I would like to make sure we get this information to our neighbors.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
Consistent police patrols and promotion of neighborhood watch training opportunities
Parking regulation reform
Community-based commitment to responsible rodent and trash control in combination with more public trash cans and recycling bins as well as grants for senior citizens and the poor to buy them
An active attitude toward green space enhancement, beautification, and graffiti removal
Enhanced opportunities for relationship building between local business owners, the patrons of their businesses and the residents of our community
Community organized “meet your neighbor” and “block clean up” parties
Registered voters and opportunities for civic participation
Sidewalk, pavement and street light upgrade/repairs
More mail boxes
Upgrades to and publicizing the existence of online neighborhood message boards and blogs
More listening and more doing -- your suggestions are most welcome and you may reach me at PatrickWarnerFlynn@gmail.com, by phone at 202-747-4633, on twitter @CoHiPat, or at www.facebook.com/votepatflynn 

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
I think community input is imperative. There should be well publicized and open meetings to discuss every change in liquor licensing. The ANC must put the needs of the whole community first but we also need to be supportive and communicative to our business owners as a community. The only effective way to regulate liquor licenses is to make it a community dialogue between those who desire them, and those who do not.

Obama campaign opens office in Adams Morgan for phone-banking, etc.

Just got this from the Ward 1 Obama for America team. You can email ofaward1@gmail.com for more info.


UPDATE: Everyone is welcome to drop in whenever, and you can also sign up here. Phonebanking is important and actually not too difficult -- usually you're calling people in swing states and encouraging them to go vote.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Brandon Green Companies giving away local restaurant gift cards

Local real estate firm Brandon Green Companies is holding a giveaway over the next few months for free gift cards for local restaurants. Can't beat that. See below for more.

Let Us Buy YOU Dinner: BGC’s “We Live Here And We Eat Here Too” Restaurant Gift Card Giveaway Series

We at BGC love our neighborhood and we love the restaurants in our neighborhood.  In fact, we love them so much that we want to give YOU a chance to eat there on our dime.  Today we’re kicking off our “We Live Here And We Eat Here Too” restaurant gift card giveaway series.  Over the next couple of months, we’ll be giving away $50 gift cards to a few lucky winners to be used at awesome local restaurants selected by our agents.  The first restaurant gift card giveaway is for Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan.  Check out the attached video to see our Jacqueline Battistini(who chose Mintwood) talk about why she loves the restaurant.
All you have to do to be entered in the giveaway series is “Like” Brandon Green Companies Facebook page.  Just liking the page enters you in a raffle for all “We Live Here And We Eat Here Too” restaurant gift card giveaways going forward.

Full disclosure, Brandon Green Companies advertises on this site, but I would post about it anyway. Free food!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DSW in DCUSA opens today?!

That's weird. I just got this press release claiming that the DSW store opens today. I haven't seen much progress but I'll check it out tonight. Strange.
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- DSW Inc. (NYSE: DSW), a leading branded footwear and accessories retailer, announced that its newest store will open on October 11(th) at 3100 14(th) Street NW in Washington, D.C. Located in the neighborhood of Columbia Heights, this is DSW's 15(th) store in the metro D.C. area, but just the first to open within D.C. proper. 
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100325/DSWLOGO2-b )
At over 20,000 square feet, the Columbia Heights store contains two floors of selling space, housing over 28,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes as well as accessories. On October 25(th), another DSW store is scheduled to open at 5333 Wisconsin Avenue NW in the neighborhood of Friendship Heights. 
"We're very excited to announce the opening of our 15(th) store in the D.C. area," stated Mike MacDonald, President and Chief Executive Officer, DSW Inc. "And with our 16(th) store opening just a few weeks later, Washington is quickly becoming the nation's capital for shoe love, too."
Previously we heard they were looking at the end of the year.

They're going to be in spot #204 below, on the second floor behind the Best Buy.



The Coupe, new spot at 11th & Monroe from Tryst, Diner folks, now open 24 hours

Photo from Yelp
Wow! For awhile we've been waiting to hear more about The Coupe, the big new 24-hour place from the folks behind Tryst, the Diner, and Open City which is coming to 3415 11th Street NW, at Monroe.

And now the news is coming rapidly: the had their soft opening last week, Eater DC is reporting they've started their 24 hour service and the Washingtonian had an interview with owner Constantine Stavropolous. Eater also has a bunch of shots of the interior, as does the Huffington Post's DC page. It looks great and I'm pumped.

Here's some key parts from the Washingtonian interview:
How is the Coupe different from your other places?
It’s a very long space. Tryst, for example, or even the Diner storefront is about 30 feet. Here we have 150 feet of linear storefront—almost the entire block. It’s not as deep as the other places; that’s why we made the entrance in the center. You walk in, and to your left you have sort of the diner area with a U-shaped counter where you can sit and talk and have server come in and serve you from both sides. Then to your right you have the Tryst[-like] lounge area where you can relax and hang out. We’ll also have a communal table at the far side of the diner. To the left you have the bar area. And even though you have these three areas with their own identity, you still feel a connection. I wanted to do that with Open City—we call it a coffeehouse, diner, and bar, and it is; however, the space is not large enough for us to do a true mixture of the concepts. Here we’re able to actually achieve it because of the space and the layout.
Do you see the Coupe fitting into Columbia Heights the way the Diner fits into Adams Morgan? 
I see the Diner in Adams Morgan as almost like a diner you’d find in Times Square: There’s a lot of people, there’s a lot of other restaurants, there’s heavy activity going on. The 24-hour concept at the Coupe is more like the kind of diner you’d find in a little Brooklyn neighborhood. It’s sort of like this beacon in the middle of the darkness—a cool lit-up corner where people can come in the middle of the night or any time they want.
They're also going to have pour-over coffee and bottled craft cocktails -- that is, pre-making them and pouring them so it's quick.

The Yelp reviews are mixed so far, but considering they just had their soft opening, we'll give take them with a grain of salt. Reviewers seemed to miss that point and complained service hiccups during the soft opening -- that's what a soft opening is for.

Streetwear expo on Sunday at SportsZone on Georgia Avenue

If you're looking for some new streetwear, check out this event at SportsZone at 2301 Georgia Ave NW. Here's their Facebook event:



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Better Know Your ANC Candidates: ANC 1A12

The seventh in our Better Know Your ANC Candidates series is fightin' ANC 1A12, which you can see at right.

The idea with these posts is that you can learn about who is running for the ANC in your area and if you'd like, be able to learn more about them via their websites or emails. The ANC advises the city council on local issues and also can issue grants, hold events, and approve or deny liquor licenses.

There's a map of all the ANCs here.

ANC 1A12 is a new district and thus doesn't have an incumbent. The candidates are Rosalind Gilliam and Zach Teutsch. Here are their responses, first from Gilliam, then from Teutsch.
Rosalind Gilliam:


1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Rosalind M. Gilliam. I've been a resident in Columbia Heights for more than 30 years. I hold a degree in Public Administration from the University of DC. I am recently retired from our city's government. I am also very athletic. I like being in touch with what's going on in our city and community. I want more young and older residents in 1A-12 to get involved, know one another and work together for the good of the community.


2. Why are you running for ANC?
I am running for ANC 1A-12 because we have no representation. This area has a great deal of residents over the age of 50 and their voices need to be heard. There are needs to be met. There are not enough older residents included in the decision making of improvements going on in our area. I believe I am the one who can help.

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Affordable housing, crime, lack of interest in seniors, and older adults.

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
Find out what their issues, needs and desires are and act accordingly, as they relate to improvements for them as well as the area.

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
The area needs more affordable housing; more housing for seniors (55+); more fitness facilities; a Medical Supply store in the DCUSA Mall, a Crafting(Joann's or Michael's) store in the DCUSA Mall; a Costume/Party store in the DCUSA Mall - NO MORE restaurants are needed at this particular time.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these
issues?
Right now, in my district, that situation seems to be under control and I'm very glad about that. Less is better in this area and throughout the District. It's okay for the restaurants to have a license as long as they adhere to the age law and know when to stop serving a customer. This curtails the violence and other bad behavior from citizens and visitors. We don't need any more liquor stores or places that sell alcoholic beverages in this area.

Zach Teutsch:


1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have been invovled in community activism for many years, beginning with my work on behalf on increasing affordable housing with inclusionary zoning in 2005. More recently, I have worked to protect social services and create a fairer, more progressive tax system in DC. In 2011, I, along with other leaders in the Progressive Budget Coalition, helped reverse tens of millions of dollars in cuts to housing, emergency assistance, and other essential DC programs. 


I have worked on behalf of Initiative 70, which will help reduce corruption in DC politics by banning direct corporate donations to DC election campaigns--these donations are already banned in federal campaigns. In the neighborhood, I have helped make sure that our roads are in good repair as a frequent user of 311, that our sidewalks are shoveled and safe for all (working with CM Graham and Mayor Gray, to get the major property owners to follow the law). I've also requested and watered trees to help beatify our neighborhood. 

My day job is as an educator and activist for the AFL-CIO. I have been working on economic justice for my whole career. When I am not focusing on my professional commitments or community affairs, I like to play and watch football, bake bread, play ultimate frisbee, and enjoy classic movies. I often use metro/metrobus, bike, and also drive so I am personally familiar with all the transit issues we face in our community. 

2. Why are you running for ANC?
It should be easier for people to be invovled in the ANC's process. I am excited to help us broaden the conversation so that people's opinions are heard even if they can't make it to ANC meetings. I'd like to periodically have open meetings in our part of the neighborhood. As important issues arise we should discuss them via community listservs as well as through in-person discussions. 

I take a specific, practical approach to the main ANC issues, since taking the same position all the time (either for or against new things) rarely gets us the best outcomes. I'd work with the other ANC members to carefully consider the implications of a lot of changes in our neighborhood, to facilitate positive change, but also to make sure that those changes are positive to us existing residents--not just folks who will move in later. 

3. What are the biggest issues confronting your district?
Our district has been changing very quickly. It'll be very important to stay on top of which businesses are coming in and make sure that they are structured in a way that benefits the neighborhood. We have a lot of diversity in our district and I'd like to see more public events designed to bring people together such as the Columbia Heights Tournament of Games which is organized annually by Mack Thompson III. 

4. What do you think the ANC can do better?
The ANC has been good at addressing local concerns. I think it can do a more effective job at soliciting input electronically and in writing so that people can weigh in on important issues, even if they can't be present at the meetings. This sort of e-input has been more common of late and we should build on that trend.  

5. What do you think the area needs more of?
We could use a better parking policy. Here's an example, only one side of the street is available for parking on many blocks in Columbia Heights during rush hour (such as Harvard, Irving, and parts of Columbia Road) and because of street cleaning that side changes, as a result when people park during rush hour on their blocks, they then have to move the car again to avoid getting ticketed the next morning at 7am. That's silly, we should be able to park on either side of our streets starting earlier than 8pm after street cleaning has finished for the day. We could also use more service on the 52, 53, and 54 buses. They are nearly always full in the morning and afternoon rush and yet they are less frequent than they used to be. We can always use a more diverse mix of locally owned restaurants.

6. One of the ANC's jobs is to regulate liquor licenses. What are your thoughts on these issues?
On the one hand, if we are too lenient it creates noise and nuisance problems for neighbors. If we are too strict, then new restaurants, expensive and cheap alike, will not be viable (it's hard to compete with competitors who have valuable liquor licenses without one) and we'll all lose out. I'd like to see us focus on allowing for innovation and new businesses in the neighborhood so long as they are adding to the life of the neighborhood rather than creating a nuisance. We should be open to experimentation but tough on businesses that create problems. We should be very careful to avoid the sort of system that involves a set number of licenses. That system seems like a good idea at first but it doesn't create much benefit for the community and just makes liquor licenses more valuable and leads to higher prices for consumers. We certainly don't need our neighborhood to involve paying *more* for things than we do already.

Here's Zach's campaign websitehttp://zachforanc.wordpress.com/