Sunday, September 30, 2007

Shooting at NJ and O Today

In case you didn't see it on the Mt. Vernon Square blog, there was a shooting this afternoon at the park at New Jersey and O Streets. There was a brief mention of it on Channel 9 news tonight.

Here are the MPD-3 posts from Asst. Chief Grooms and Captain McCoy, respectively:

Third District units are currently [15:55] on the scene of New Jersey
and O ST
NW - they responded for call for gunshots and found an
adult male shot
twice in the arms - he was taken to Medstar in
stable condition - the
suspect fled on a Bike towards New York Ave
and has been stopped by MPD
- placed under arrest at this time for
ADW gun

An adult male was shot in the park at about 1;45 pm. He was transported
to an area hospital and his injuries are said to be non life
threatening. An immediate investigation was conducted and at about 3;30 pm a
suspect was arrested and charged with this shooting. The weapon has not
been recovered as of this posting. Anyone with information is asked to
call the MPD-SOCC at 202-727-9099.

Oddly, yesterday afternoon around 4:30 at that location I saw a gathering of 6 police cars, a paddy wagon, and a about a dozen police. No obvious reason.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Queen of Sheba License Hearing Today

Just got back from the ABRA hearing on the Queen of Sheba's liquor license (it was still going on, but I had to leave after an hour and a half). In addition to Campbell Johnson and another lady from Shiloh (whose name I didn't catch), there were about six people from the protesting group, including Mary Sutherland and Barbara Curtis (who didn't say anything while I was there).

I was asked to testify on behalf of QOS, which I was happy to do. The questions mostly had to do with what I had observed in the restaurant (good food, friendly service, nice atmosphere, nothing in the least disruptive or disorderly), conditions elsewhere on the block (derelict houses, vagrancy, trash, etc.), and the effect that QOS had had on the surroundings (more life on the block, better appearance, improved sense of safety--all totally positive). Alex Padro was next up and talked about the conditions in the immediate area before the restaurant opened and current plans for development. He presented a petition signed by neighborhood residents some time ago in favor of the liquor licenses for Vegetate and QOS, along with a imagery map showing where the 50-60 signers live (as well as the half-dozen opponents). I thought it was pretty effective; Campbell Johnson and company objected to its being accepted as an exhibit, but in vain. Then Johnson asked for a recess. Everyone groaned, but the chair granted him 5 minutes. I skedaddled back to work at that point, since this was obviously going to continue for quite some time. No one else other than the owners and their lawyer was there to support the QOS cause.

My impression was that the Board was pretty impatient with the protestants and their tactics, so I fervently hope this will be the end of this farce and QOS will get the licence today. Enough is enough, already! It is outrageous that the ABRA board has allowed this to be dragged out so long with the endless do-over opportunities for the opponents. Mr. Misgina and his family have been tortured way too much already.

The opponents seem to be clutching at straws, making nonsensical incoherent arguments (more insinuations, really, than arguments) about parking, noise, taxi cab drivers (what?!). Given the impact of Shiloh's malign neglect on the block and the church's effect on parking, their hypocrisy is truly stunning. It's hard to avoid concluding that their only real agenda is to stifle any positive development and change in the neighborhood that would in any way threaten their sense of special entitlement. Shame, shame, shame!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Buy Me!

Got back in town to find that one of the nearby derelict properties featured in a previous post is up for sale. Just get a load of this beauty featured in full frontal and rear views above. (Actually, the dumpster shown at the rear of the house is now gone, but I was too lazy to take a new shot.) Long and Foster agent Mitch Story has the listing and here's his write-up from the on-line site:

Super Low Price on Large Shell w/DC Approved Permits to build out to 4400+ SqFt! Plenty of room for parking for 1 or 2 cars and still have a nice yard in back. Look at the comps then look at the multiple condo conversions on this block then you do the math. It works! Grab your investor and bring a flashlight. I'll meet you there at your earliest convenience - Mitch 202.270.4514 for appt!

And all for only $349,000!

Actually, this looks like a legitimate sale and not just a ruse to avoid the Class 3 tax rate, since the proposed tax appraisal for 2008 is $472K. Let's hope someone serious about rehabilitation buys it and really fixes it up. This is a nice block now and could be even better.

Back in the 'hood

Just back from a vacation in bucolic Maine, it's been a little bit of an adjustment to get back to the realities of our beloved Shaw. Had to run by the house this afternoon, and saw that the 500 block of P Street was closed off with police tape. I didn't have time to stop and inquire, but my immediate thought was that there had been another shooting. Right-on. Here's the preliminary police report, thanks to Cary Silverman and the Mt. Vernon Square Blog.

On 9-14-07, at about 1115 hour gunfire erupted at 9th and P Street, NW. Investigation revealed that no one was injured. Shell casings were recovered 500 P St. NW. Damage to Property reports were taken in the 400 P Street, NW for a car and a home. A witness observed a black male (unknown description) shooting from a car at an unknown subject. We also recovered a Ford Focus vehicle possibly involved in this shooting. The vehicle was towed by police for pending an investigation. Also, the cameras were working at 5th and O and will be reviewed. We will continue to combat crime through partnerships with the community and arresting subjects who are responsible for these acts.
I will prepare a PSA action plan for this area and your input will be needed.
The light truck will be set up in the 400 P Street NW
PSA officers will give special attention on all tours of duty in the target areas.
A Directive Patrol Post will also be established in the block.

[Update: Spoke to one witness who said there was another guy with the shooter and they were on foot. After firing the shots, they reportedly walked rather casually toward 6th Street. It happened about 11:35. Pictures and more info at Kevin Chapple's site (thanks, Martin)]

By coincidence, we were talking this morning with a neighbor from 5th Street while we were all out walking our dogs, and she said there had been another shoot-em-up in the early morning hours last Saturday at the 2nd NW Coop. (We were still away then, but I hadn't heard anything about this one.) Evidently, no one was hit but she said several cars were damaged by the fusillade.

WTF?! It's hard to know where to lay the blame for this situation. I really don't want to fault the police, though I think there are some things that might be done to help prevent this--like getting Shotspotter in our neighborhood (Lord knows there's enough gunfire to justify it!). The 911/311 system is a cruel joke. But if the cops catch the thugs responsible for it, what happens? According to the police themselves, there's little chance of serious punishment for a first offender caught with an illegal weapon, especially if he's a juvenile. And if the gangstas are kids, what are their parents doing? I know parenthood is no picnic, and peer pressure is tough to fight, but in the end it comes down to mothers and, yes, fathers to instill in their children some positive values and ambition to take advantage of the opportunities that exist in this city. And, of course, the community needs to help. I fully support my blogger colleague over at Off Seventh in his campaign to get some serious attention to this neighborhood from the city council, the mayor, the police, and the schools to try to turn this around.