Wednesday, January 03, 2007

ANC Deadlock

Oh, boy.

A few highlights, if you can call them that, from tonight's ANC meeting. (This reflects my recollections; check the other Shaw blogs for their versions as well.)

The meeting opened with a bang when Chair Doris Brooks announced that videotaping or recording would not be permitted. A somewhat chaotic shouting match ensued with attendees pointing out that recording a public meeting is permissible by law. Someone said call the police, and an officer arrived but took no action. So several people recorded the proceedings--check your local listings. [At the end of the meeting, Gottlieb Simon, who runs herd on the ANCs for the DC government, allowed as how taping had been ruled permissible, but the ANC bylaws could set guidelines so that it would not become disruptive to the conduct of the meetings. Since our ANC bylaws apparently do not mention this, there is nothing to prohibit recording.]

As anticipated, the election of officers deadlocked 2-2, so the status quo from December continues with Doris Brooks as Chair and Treasurer and Barbara Curtis as Vice-Chair and Secretary. (There was a bit of confusion over who was elected to what, but Parliamentarian and Executive Assistant Thorpe got it all straightened out as planned.)

Pretty much everything else deadlocked too, starting with approval of the minutes, which like the other documents presented for approval, were distributed to Alex Padro and Kevin Chapple (whose name Ms. Brooks consistently mispronounced) only at the beginning of the meeting. Mr. Chapple moved that approval of the minutes be tabled to allow the commissioners and public to read them. Deadlock. Same with the by-laws. And the quarterly report.

During discussion of the meeting locations, Mr. Chapple moved to allow at least two of the year's meetings to take place at a location to be selected by Mr. Padro so as to make meeting more accessible to other parts of the ANC. No dice. Ms. Brooks' response was to repeat the motion as it stood.

Discussion of the budget also reached an impasse, although the provision alloting funds for grants was deleted when Ms. Curtis, possibly in a moment of confusion, voted to support a motion from Padro and Chapple. (A couple of other times she seemed to raise her hand in favor of one of their motions only to get a nudge from the chair and change her vote.) So the budget was left with nothing decided except for money for postage and a post office box. A proposal by Mr. Padro to spend funds on distributing the meeting agendas and to institute an ANC website got enthusiatic applause from the audience, but got nowhere. Attempts by attendees to get a reason for the opposition to a website were stonewalled.

Throughout, Mr. Thorpe provided sotto voce prompts to Ms. Brooks, who despite decades as an ANC commissioner, appeared unprepared to conduct the meeting. Several times, attendees objected to the inaudible exchanges between Thorpe and Brooks as inappropriate in a public meeting, but these complaints were brushed aside. Indeed, most of the discussion among the commissioners took place between Padro and Chapple on one hand and Thorpe on the other. For all intents and purposes, Mr. Thorpe is still definitely in charge. No surprise there.

But they did manage to unanimously approve the Chinese New Years parade for February 18. And Fenty's Ward 2 community outreach coordinator, Sean Howard, made a brief presentation. He can be reached at God knows what he thought about all this.

As often happens, the meeting degenerated into a chaotic shoutfest at the end. I never heard an official adjournment, but people just sort of got up and left.

Lordy, lordy, what a dispiriting spectacle! Is there really any reason for these things to be so petty and spiteful?

Oh, by the way, there was another shooting at 5th and N this afternoon. Apparently a kid was hit--a few details here.


At 1/03/2007 10:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was also a shooting at 7th & O tonight. The police had the entire 1300 block of 7th blocked off around 9pm. Barbara Curtis' territory. Good thing her constits voted to have an ANC Commish who can't speak or vote her own mind. How can she address crime intelligently if she can't keep track of who's talking around her?

Under the thumbs of Thorpe&Brooks, I wonder if Curtis knows how to roll over and do tricks as well... (Not those kinds of tricks! -- though LT is certainly doing an impressive job of pimp'n those old black ladies). It's shameful. Those who voted for that jack*ss and almost got him re-elected should be ashamed also; he'd treat their mothers the same way.

At least we're getting better police response.

AND a citizen's crime log was opened on Kev's transitional site earlier this week just so residents can help keep other residents in ANC2C aware of stuff, since the authorities are legally bound to be more tight lipped.

At 1/04/2007 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Is there really any reason for these things to be so petty and spiteful?"

It's all about power, the perception of power, election cycles, racism, imperfectionism, economics, taxes, chruch real estate portfolio's, continued poor delivery of government services, ignorance, corruption and the appearance of being always correct.

At 1/04/2007 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt like I was watching a bunch of children playing grown-up. I have never witnessed such a waste of human energy.

The spectacle of Leroy completely controlling these two women would be laughable if it wasn't so detrimental and harmul to our community.

I was embarassed for Leroy, reduced to being a puppet-master, hiding behind his opened briefcase. And for Doris, who was completely confused the entire time.

I also noticed that there were a lot of good people in the room who would rather have worked together to accomplish things that are real and good for the community. Instead decent and reasonable discussions and questions were not answered or were glossed-over in favor of entirely transparent stalling tactics.

Time marches forward, and change is coming. This will be a transitional time, and we may not see much accomplished, but we all know that it is inevitable that things will improve as more and more people tire of letting a few people hold a whole community hostage.

At 1/04/2007 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought I posted this earlier. Here's a post on Binformed that has a link to video of last night's meeting.


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