Thursday, August 31, 2006

ANC 2C Candidate List Fills Out

The challenger for the single member district currently held by Doris Brooks (ANC2C03) will be John Tinpe. This district extends from N Street all the way to Independence Avenue and includes most of the western part of the Gallery Place/Penn Quarter area (see map).

Tinpe is a long time resident of the Gallery Place area, and his family owns the Burma Restaurant on 6th Street. He was appointed by Mayor Williams to Chair the Commission on Asian & Pacific Islander Affairs. I don’t think he has a website yet, but according to the Mount Vernon Square blog has a meet-and-greet scheduled for September 1.

Mary Sutherland will be running against Alex Padro again for the ANC2C01 seat; she lost by a wide margin in 2004. She was one of those spearheading the opposition to granting a liquor license for BeBar (as well as for the Vegetate and Queen of Sheba restaurants). She has also worked closely with ANC Chairman Leroy Thorpe in organizing the Red Hat anti-crime patrols.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

ANC 2C 04 Single Member District Map

Another ANC 2C Contender

Richard Rogers says he’s running for the ANC2C04 single member district currently held by Barbara Curtis. This is an oddly-shaped area that consists of much of the Mount Vernon Square Historic district plus the blocks bounded by 8th, 5th, O, and N, which are mostly high-rise and garden apartments.

Barbara Curtis narrowly defeated Lydia Goring two years ago, and has been a reliable supporter of ANC2C Chairman Leroy Thorpe, pretty much rubber-stamping whatever he proposes.

Richard Rogers (no, not the Broadway composer—that’s “Rodgers”) has a blog that can be found here.

I also hear that Doris Brooks will have an opponent for her district (2C03)—but don’t have a name yet. Anyone know?

Still haven’t seen or heard much from Kevin Chapple, who’s running against Leroy Thorpe. Wonder what’s going on there.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Edward P. Jones's New Book

I was happily surprised to open today’s Washington Post Book World and see that the cover review was of Edward P. Jones’s new collection of short stories, “All Aunt Hagar’s Children.” There was another glowing review in today’s New York Times Book Review.

I had an earlier post (see July archive) about a 1992 collection of Jones’s stories (“Lost in the City”) and how so many of them were set in Shaw during the period between 1940-1975. The title story of the new book, which was published in the New Yorker a couple of years ago, initially caught my attention because it refers to a store that used to stand at 5th and O.

I’m delighted to see that this wonderful writer (and Washingtonian) is getting the attention and critical acclaim that he deserves.

Tree Relief

Our P Street neighbor, Boris, has been reminding us and others that the prolonged dry spell has seriously stressed the trees that line our streets. He points out that they need to be watered just like our own shrubs and flowers, and if residents don’t do it, no one will.

Ideally, trees need a long, slow soak to allow the water to penetrate deeply into the soil. However, an arborist we consulted recently told us that most trees get the majority of moisture and nutrients from the top 5-6 inches of soils, so even a more superficial watering can help them through a drought. It also helps to remove weeds and grass from around the tree and put down couple of inches of mulch—but keep the mulch away from the tree trunk itself. Here is another source of information about caring for trees.

Boris has constructed a number of brick tree boxes in the 400 block of P and O streets, and has contacted Liz Tylander of DC Greenworks about organizing groups of residents to build new treeboxes and generally care for the street trees. She gave a presentation at the August MVSNA meeting (full account here) about the work of her organization.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lights in the Park

Walking the dogs this morning, we saw a big sign in the park at New Jersey and O put up by a contractor that I assume is finally going to get the lights working. That should be a good start to making a change there.

Congratulations to everyone who has worked to get this accomplished.

Update 8/31

Looks like I spoke too soon. According to a security guard at Bundy School, there are still no lights in the park--the contractor's sign notwithstanding. Not sure what the problem is. Hope the park isn't staying in the dark because of political turf issues.

819 - 821 Q Street

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Derelict Property of the Week, 7/21-28

[Photo in post above]

This property at 819-821 Q Street is part of a larger parcel that also includes 816 and 818 Rhode Island Avenue. The owner is Michael D. Sendar, an attorney and owner of Big Wheel Bikes (in Georgetown and other locations), whose residence is at 8708 Brickyard Road, Potomac, MD.

According to a neighborhood source, Sendar bought the property about 15 years ago for roughly $125,000. For about seven years Sendar rented the property to the Nubian Islaamic Hebrew cult (now known as the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors--see their website) whose bizarre and noisy rites were a thorn in the side of nearby residents. They decamped for Putnam County, Georgia about 2001. The place has been vacant ever since.

A few years ago, according to the same source, the luxe condo developer Abdo offered $800K to buy the property, but Sendar held out for more and the deal never happened. The asking price nowadays is said to be about $1.25 million.

The deteriorated and reportedly rotted and termite-infested interior of the buildings is disguised by Afro-centric murals and an acidly-hilarious trompe l’oeil facade painted by a neighborhood resident, whose identity is an open secret (no snitchin’ here). It has become something of a alternative tourist attraction and was the subject of a couple of Washington City Paper pieces.

According to public tax records, the 2006 tax assessment for the three properties amounts to $489,170—a far cry from the reported asking price. The taxes are shown as paid up, except for unpaid “Clean City” charges of $675 going back to 2000 and a “special assessment” of $245 from this year. The total tax bill for 2006 is shown as $9048, which means that the regular commercial tax rate of $1.85/100 is being applied.

This is odd, because all of these properties are on the official DC list of vacant properties , which supposedly means they incur a penalty rate of $5/100. If applied, that would put the tax bill at about $24,460. Could it be that one hand of the DC government doesn't know what the other hand is doing? Or, even worse, could the tax assessors have mistaken the fake facade for the real thing?

Ironically, Sendar has presented himself as a champion of the little guy in the takeover by commercial developer EastBanc of the Georgetown property where Big Wheel Bikes operated. (According to a January 24 WaPo article, he also made a pitch to go to work for the Nationals baseball team.)

Most deliciously, in a WCP article about church-owned vacant properties in Shaw impeding improvement of commercial property, Sendar was quoted as saying: “It’s frustrating, you own something, you want to make it nice, and the obstacles are manifold.” Yeah, man, ain't it a bitch.

Suggestions for next week are welcome.

Last week's featured property.

Hearings on O Street Market

I came across a note in the Bladgen Alley/Naylor Court site saying there were hearings coming up regarding the deterioration of the O Street Market building and the owner’s protest of an $8,000 fine.

The DC Office of Planning told me today that there are actually two hearings scheduled. According to Mr. Hubert Johnson, the Board of Condemnation and Unsanitary Buildings is meeting at 11:15 on Sept. 13th, to address the property's condition. The location is 941 N. Capitol St, NE, Room 7000. This is open to the public, whose input is welcome either in person or in writing (can be sent by FAX at 442-4332).

The other hearing is scheduled for Oct. 10th at 10:30am with the Office of Administrative Hearings, 825 North Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 4150. This hearing is to address the fines that have been issued to the property for non-compliance (with what, I’m not sure).

All this is interesting in view of the recent reports that plans by Roadside (owner of the property) and Giant to renovate the market and build new retail space on the block were finally going to move ahead. What’s left of the old market building is indeed in pretty sad shape. I’d love to know what’s really going on with all this.

Monday, August 21, 2006

GLBT in Shaw

Several people have told me that they'd be interested in having an informal get-together of gay and lesbian residents of the neighborhood as a way of getting to know other members of the community better. To try to help get things started, my partner and I are offering to host a little patio party after work. We're thinking 6-8 p.m. on the Friday after Labor Day, September 8.

Kindly let me know if you'd be interested and if you can make it on that date by sending an e-mail to to let us know who will be coming. Based on the response, I'll start a list serve and get back to everyone by e-mail with our address and firm information about the time. If you can't come on September 8, but would like to be added to the list serve, please send me an e-mail anyway.

For our straight friends and neighbors, we don't mean to be exclusionary and you're most welcome to come as well. After all, the point of all this is to get to know our neighbors better.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Camera Moves to 5th and O

I came home from work today to see a Channel 5 news crew at 5th and O pointing a camera at the surveillance camera on a lamp post on the corner. The camera has now been moved from Bundy School to this location.

I also had a long conversation with ANC commissioner Thorpe, during which he showed me a copy of an e-mail from Assistant Police Chief Newsham which said that the camera had been relocated at Thorpe's recommendation. The message added that police officers would be out of their vehicles to patrol more difficult areas and would improve communications with community leaders.

I think this is a good move, and not entirely for selfish reasons. The location makes more sense given the focus of police attention at this intersection and the doubtful efficacy of the previous site on top of the school building. Commissioner Thorpe deserves thanks for his part in this decision.

Of course, it's a little weird being officially recognized as one of the worse crime sites in the city. Can we get a break on our tax assessment?

ANC Election--Grist for the Mill

Incumbent ANC commissioner Leroy Thorpe has published a letter in the current issue of the Washington City Paper in which he defends Fenty aide Sinclair Skinner, who was the subject of a critical article in the previous week’s edition. The WCP story (full text here) is a bit complicated, but alleges, among other things, that Skinner used race-bating tactics last year to oppose councilman Jim Graham’s efforts to close down black-owned clubs along Georgia Avenue where there had been shootings and other violence by denying their liquor license renewals. In apparent retaliation, the article continued, Skinner mobilized supporters to fight a license for a white-owned bar/restaurant opening up on the street. The thrust of the piece was that Fenty had refused to remove Skinner from his staff despite strong pressure to do so because of Skinner’s tactics.

Thorpe’s letter (not up online yet) accuses WCP of “a long history of attacking African-American politicians and activists, mostly at the expense of hearsay information the City Paper obtains from racially insensitive European-American newcomers to African-American communities who resent African-American leadership to the point that they ostracize themselves from the African-American community and organize their own neighborhood associations, etc.”

He compares Skinner to Nat Turner, Malcolm X, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Adam Clayton Powell, “African-American leaders who are not Uncle Toms and whom European-Americans fear because they have balls. European-Americans hate African-Americans they can’t control and who simply never forget where they came from. Sinclair Skinner scares the hell out of those European-Americans and house Negroes who want to hold on to the status quo of separate but equal in America.
He goes on to say that “Fenty’s light skin and advanced degrees are acceptable socially to European-Americans; however, his loyalty to … Skinner is incomprehensible to European-Americans who think Fenty should act like those European-American-accepted house Negroes Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice, and Sen. Barack Obama.”

Cop Talk

I don’t want this blog to become a police blotter, but we had an interesting conversation last night with an officer at the 5th and O “compliance” checkpoint. The officer said that there had been three incidents since Wednesday in the general area.

One was at 8th and R, where a woman was killed Wednesday night by a car that was backed (deliberately, the police believe) over her [note: this was reported briefly on Channel 4 and in today’s WaPo]. The suspect, whom the officer said was known to the police, left the car and took off.

There was also a shooting in the 1300 block of 7th Street and a holdup at gunpoint at 9th and O.

The officer said that a common thread in all these incidents was that witnesses and/or victims did not want to i.d. suspects—whether out of fear of retaliation or the “no snitching” thing.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

ANC Commish has New Challenger

Kevin Chapple, a patent attorney and small business owner, has announced that he’s running for the ANC seat held by ANC2C Chairman Leroy Thorpe, Jr. Thorpe’s single-member district includes the area bounded roughly by N, New Jersey, Florida, and 7th (with some blocks missing—see map). Chapple has a spiffy new website and blog, but he does not yet seem to be well known in the community.

The announcement has created a bit of a buzz in the blogosphere. Thorpe has won various awards and citations for his street work with youth to reduce crime in the area and thoroughly dominates the ANC2C meetings, but he is considered by many to be a polarizing figure.

This may be a much more interesting race than we thought.

Wings of Righteousness

Since moving from Clarendon, I’ve been looking for a source of really good and inexpensive carry-out to substitute for those wonderful roast chickens from Pollo Rico. (We still scoot over to Arlington once in a while for a fix.) So far, the best deal I’ve found is at Dan the Man’s Teriyaki and Subs at 1936 9th Street (just south of U).

I haven’t tried the subs or everything on the menu, but can definitely recommend the spicy chicken wings , teriyaki chicken, and ribs. All of these are more Korean than Japanese in flavor and deliver a nice slow burn. The wings are a great buy at $8.99 for 14 pieces—have lots of napkins handy. They come accompanied by rice and stir-fried veggies (good) or fries (which seems like a bad idea—haven’t tried that).

The owner, Daniel Jung, is originally from New York and runs the restaurant with his wife Deni. The place is pretty spartan and, frankly, not all that inviting for eating on premises, but you can make your order over the phone (202-797-0090) and they’ll have it ready by the time you get there. They also offer free delivery.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Crime Report--Update

At the Mount Vernon Square NA meeting last night, Officer Tommy Barnes said crime was down 15% since the “emergency” went into effect. (Not sure if that was citywide or in the 3rd Police District.) There was, however, a shooting that morning in front of the Baptist church at 6th and N that had church members scurrying for cover, but apparently no one was actually hit.

He said the biggest problem right now is theft from parked cars. He cautioned everyone not to leave anything of possible value—even a little loose change—visible in the car. Even cell phone chargers left in view can encourage thieves to break in to look for a cell phone.

Barnes said that the 3rd District is not going to get any more officers, and PSA 308 now has the least crime in the district. He added that the 6-day weeks the cops are working means that everyone is accumulating a lot of leave, and once the emergency is lifted, many officers are going to take off.

The police were out again last night and again tonight at 5th and O doing "compliance checks" of passing cars—the first time in at least a couple of weeks we’ve seen that.

Lights, Camera, Action...(oh, sorry, no lights)

The much-anticipated MPD surveillance camera for the 400 block of O Street has been sighted. It overlooks the park at O and New Jersey from atop the Bundy School. The signs indicating the area “may be under police surveillance” are on lamp posts around the park.

“May” may be the operative word here. From the top of the building, most of the park is probably obscured by the tree cover (unless these cameras have some Hollywood fantasy x-ray vision capability they haven’t told us about). It should have a better view in the winter, when the leaves are off.

I’m still a little puzzled by the site selection. As noted previously, the Bundy school has a constant contract security guard presence, and they’re usually out in front in decent weather and would have at least as good a view of what’s happening in the park as the camera would.

The oddest thing is that the park has operable lights that are not turned on. The Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association and the residents of the adjacent Second NW Coop project have been trying to get them turned on, but according to the MVSNA, ANC commissioner Thorpe has not been supportive, for unknown reasons.

I don’t get it. If this is really one of the top four crime risk sites in the city, shouldn’t it be all lit up at night?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Addio AV...and The Eagle...But Not Just Yet

As has been reported here and there (and also there), the venerable AV Ristorante at 6th and New York Avenue has been sold to Doug Jemal’s Douglas Development Corporation. This is the megadeveloper that has done (inter alia) the old Woodies building, the “Historic Row” (Spy Museum) group, a big chunk of 7th Street, and is developing the “Exchange”, a mixed retail/commercial/residential project at 9th and N.

What has not been as widely noted (at least in the straight press) is that Jemal acquired the building housing the Eagle (DC’s premier gay leather bar) on New York Avenue a year ago, as well as the building that houses the Venue club. In fact, a quick perusal of tax records shows that Jemal already owns most of the block bounded by 7th, L, 6th, and New York Avenue. The major exceptions are the Marrakesh restaurant, the Eritrean club at L and 6th, and several properties owned by Raymond Ruppert on 7th Street. But the clock is probably ticking for most of those as well.

The leather guys are not exactly shaking in their harnesses and chaps yet, however, because actual redevelopment is still aways off—probably not until late next year or even 2008. So those who like squinting at mimeographed Eisenhower-era menus in stygian darkness and waiting interminably for undistinguished food while listening to scratchy recordings of operatic chestnuts can relax for at least a while. You can still hang out with paisans like Antonin Scalia and, God help us, Denny Hastert and soak up the nostalgia.

Maybe Jemal could do one of those façadist projects and incorporate AV (and, what the hell, the Eagle) into the new commercial/retail development as themepark-style restaurants--a kind of anti-Cheesecake Factory.

But no…there’s real kitsch and fake kitsch, and, bless its tacky heart, AV is real kitsch. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Well, maybe they could save that wonderful patio with the fabulous statue of Neptune or whoever. Lascia ch’io pianga una lacrima falsa.

Monday, August 14, 2006

New Feature: Derelict Property of the Week

One of the less attractive aspects of Shaw, despite all that gentrification we always hear about, is the abundance of decaying, seemingly abandoned properties. So I thought I’d feature one such property each week, along with as much information about the owner as I could dig up.

With so many to choose from, why not start close to home? (Suggestions are hereby solicited for next week’s featured ruin; descriptive details are most welcome.)

This lovely property at 509 O Street is owned by Beverly Bakeir of 2010 13th Street, NW. According to public DC records, she purchased the property for $20,000 in February 2000. The tax records show two units (A and B) at that address, which is odd because the building has no floors at all and is completely uninhabitable.

The current tax assessment totals $144,740 ($101,220 for the land), but according to the on-line database, tax bills totaling $2,943.98 dating back to 2005 remain unpaid.

According to DCRA, the owner has had work permits dating back to September 2003, but strangely enough, virtually none of the work has ever been completed. A permit was issued on January 28, 2005 for “renovating and restoring existing 2 family flat [sic] as per plans.” Another was issued on July 18, 2005 for “underpinning of existing basement, repair existing stairs in front and rear, replace iron railing in front.”

Neighbors report that the owner has hired homeless men to excavate dirt out of the basement with shovel and bucket at various times starting last summer, and a couple of dumpsters have been filled with the spoil and hauled away. After a period of inactivity lasting several months, another dumpster appeared about three weeks ago and was filled with dirt by a different laborer, but that was hauled away after the owner was observed in an animated conversation with a DC government employee. Since then, there has been no discernible work activity at the address.

Given the amount of time that has elapsed since the permits were issued, and the nugatory progress achieved toward renovation, is it too much to wonder if the permits are not just a ruse to avoid the punitive tax applied to buildings officially declared abandoned? Just asking.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

No Ethiopian Cafe After All

I spoke this afternoon with the lady who bought the former store front church at the eponymous Corner. She told me she had abandoned her idea about opening up an Ethiopian cafe there, because it would be too hard to get the necessary zoning change.

Instead, she's renovating the building with four apartments, one of which she plans to live in. The construction is about half completed at this point.

I feel a little disappointed because it might have been nice to have a place to sit, drink coffee, and get a bite to eat that was so close. However, she and her family are good people, and it should be great to have them on the block.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Our Very Own Security Surveillance Camera!

Another honor has been bestowed on our little neck of the ‘hood: The 400 block of O Street has been selected to get one of the first four neighborhood surveillance cameras to be installed by the MPD. Hey guys, we made the Top Four!

According to the WaPo, the “cameras will roll 24 hours a day, but will not be monitored live.” Also, there will be helpful signs on the cameras “to alert people to their presence.”

The site was chosen allegedly because “the 400 block of O Street has problems with drug dealing.”

This makes me wonder exactly where the camera will be placed. That block of the street itself is not an obvious drug market. We walk our dogs there frequently and have never seen anything that looks like drug dealing. The Bundy School has a constant contract security guard presence that normally is out in front during good weather and presumably would see that kind of stuff going down. The Bundy school field is a popular site for Latino soccer games and an impromptu dog park, but the activities I’ve observed there always looked pretty innocent.

It could be in the park at O and New Jersey Avenue (next to the fire station), which is a hang-out for homeless and supposedly a place where drugs are sold. But the police say they clear it out at dark and, to my knowledge, it hasn’t been a recent site of violence like other locations in the area.

The other likely spot would be the interior courtyard of the 8A coop residences between N and O in that block, where someone was shot just a few days ago. This is reputed to be home turf for the 5th and O crew.

Hmmm. If everyone knows exactly where the cameras are, then why wouldn’t they just go do whatever they are going to do someplace the cameras can’t see? (Just like those speed cameras before you go into the 3rd Street tunnel where everyone slows down for a few hundred yards and then speeds up as soon as they’re out of range.) Also, if the cameras aren’t monitored, then they’re useless for stopping anyone in the act, though I guess they might help make a case after the fact. Well, I welcome any measure that reduces crime in the area, but have to wonder how much this will help.

Bush's Bitch

I had always blamed Ralph Nader and Elian Gonzalez for giving Katherine Harris a semi-plausible pretext for stealing the 2000 election for George Bush. But now I’m wondering if Joe Lieberman wasn’t actually a GOP mole.

I always found him a slightly repellent candidate and was dismayed when the Democrats nominated him. His smarmy piety and family values thing made me slightly nauseated. There was that awful whiny voice that just made your skin crawl. And that excruciating performance in the vice-presidential “debate”, during which Cheney gushed about the superior earning potential he had found in the private sector and Lieberman just sat there and swallowed instead of going after Cheney for the corrupt bastard he is. Of course, I voted for the ticket anyway, but was secretly glad I didn’t have to see that bobblehead on TV anymore.

Since then, however, Lieberman has revealed his true colors by giving aid and comfort to this most deceitful and disastrous of administrations. He totally buys the Israeli argument that you can’t negotiate with extremists in Hamas and Hezbollah, but he’s been more than willing to appease the political extremists in the Bush government.

Now he has lost the primary, but plans to carry on his campaign as an independent--regardless of the consequences for Democratic prospects for regaining a majority in the senate. Either the man is a monstrous egomaniac, or he’s a Republican fellow-traveller.

What does it tell you that Cheney today said that Lieberman’s defeat “might encourage ‘Al Qaeda’ types”? (NYT) Good heavens, how could we possibly fend off the evildoers without Joe Lieberman?

With friends like Dick Cheney, who needs the Democratic Party?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Crime Emergency--Notice Any Difference?

It has been nearly two months now since the big town meeting held by Jack Evans and the declaration of a ‘crime emergency’ by Chief Ramsey. I gotta say, I can’t see much visible difference in the police coverage around our place.

For a while, starting the day of the town meeting, there was a cluster of police at a roadblock set up at 5th and O, checking drivers licenses, registration, and insurance cards. (And, according to one neighbor, getting the phone numbers of attractive females—wouldn’t know about that.) That stopped at least a month ago.

Once or twice, I have seen a mounted police officer, but that’s been a while too. I can’t say I’ve seen much, if any, increase in patrol cars on the street either. At the town meeting and civic association meetings, residents keep asking for foot or bike patrols, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

I know the police have a tough job, and I don’t really know enough to try to second-guess their decisions. They say they have increased the numbers of patrol officers, and I have no reason to doubt that. They say they’re closing the parks at dark and chasing the vagrants out of the one at O and New Jersey Avenue, which is probably true.

They’re also working 6-day weeks, and I have to wonder how much additional quality police work you get from that. After all, you can go on daylight saving time, but you still don’t get any more daylight.

What I don’t discern is the strategy. The residents keep saying they want community policing, where they can actually interact with the cops instead of just seeing them glide by in their cars. I wouldn’t recognize any individual District 3 police officer in a lineup if I had to (except for the ones who come to the meetings). This kind of community policing seems to have worked well elsewhere, so why can’t we give it a try here? Maybe there aren’t enough police to do it, but in DC we have the highest number of police per capita in the country and are planning to hire more. So if not here, where?

Neighborhood News--ECCA Meeting Report (Totally Unofficial)

We attended the August meeting of the East Central Civil Association at the Third Baptist Church last night. As usual, much of the discussion focused on crime and the “crime emergency” measures undertaken by the MPD.

Sgt. Penn of the 3rd District gave a report in which he said that crime in the district was down by 3% since the emergency was declared. (He didn’t break it down further than that.) He said 42 arrests have been made (not sure for what, exactly). The police are working 6-day weeks, and 15 additional officers have been allocated to the 3rd district to work the ‘hot zones’, which in Shaw consist of 7th Street between O and Rhode Island Avenue. One of the attendees complained about being hassled by panhandlers and seeing drug activity in the Giant parking lot—which presumably should be in the “hot zone.”

Despite all that, there was a shooting yesterday in the courtyard of the coop housing at 5th and O, and another one on August 3 at 8th and R—neither of them fatal. He said the victims were being “uncooperative”, which probably means that these were related to the on-going beef between the 5th & O and 7th & O crews. One additional interesting tidbit was that the Kennedy Rec Center on 7th Street is considered 7th and O turf, so kids from elsewhere don’t want to go there.

In response to questions about the curfew for kids 16 and under, Sgt. Penn said they were detaining significant numbers who are held until a parent or another responsible adult comes for them. According to Rita Epps (who gave a presentation on family collaborative services), they’re finding that some of the kids really have no one at home.

There was also some discussion about “roving leaders” under the Neighborhood Services department. I had never heard of this program, but it’s supposed to be an outreach effort to get kids from the neighborhoods into the recreational programs. A new person has just been appointed for the Kennedy Rec Center, but apparently there is only one “roving leader” for all of Ward 2.

ANC3c chairman Leroy Thorpe gave an impassioned version of his trademark sermon on the need for parental supervision, education, and personal responsibility. Impressively, he is willing to challenge assertions of protective grandmothers that young men are being hassled by police for no reason whatever. He also included jibes at fellow commissioner Alex Padro for allegedly not doing anything to deal with criminal activity at the Lincoln-Westmoreland and Kelsey Gardens apartments in his single member district.

Thorpe did confirm that there is movement on the O Street Market project, and that talks are taking place between Giant and Roadside.

Comment: The ECCA meetings are fairly sparsely attended—maybe 15-20 people were there in addition to the presenters. About the same people usually show up—mostly long-time residents, but a smattering of relative newcomers. I doubt many new residents even know the organization exists; there is no website (something I’m going to try to work with president Betty Newell to address) and the flyers about the meetings are distributed rather haphazardly. Nevertheless, it’s one good way to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood and meet people you might not otherwise have occasion to talk to.