Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Community Group to Form

Haven't posted anything in quite a while. I guess I felt like taking a mental holiday, and it was indeed restful and therapeutic.

But life goes on, and stuff still happens, and problems still need to be addressed. Which is why I'm hoping there will be a good turnout for an initial organizational meeting to form a new community group to deal with the issues facing our neighborhood. The meeting to form the still-unnamed association will take place on Thursday, January 10 at 6:30 p.m. at 817 Q Street NW (the home of Mr. Ray, who has generously offered his house as a venue--getting a meeting room at KRC turned out to be too complicated). Everyone is welcome.

Update: It now appears that due to the number of folks who have expressed interest, the meeting may be held outdoors at the adjacent triangular park at 9th, Q, and RI Ave. If the weather is bad, location may have to move, so stay tuned.


So why do we need a new organization? Because we don't have one now. The Mt. Vernon Square neighborhood has a very good one, but the rest of Shaw has basically nothing. The ECCA, which allegedly covers the area, has degenerated into a personal pulpit for ex-ANC commissioner Leroy Thorpe since he hijacked it with a bogus election in December 2006. He has tried to ban neighbors who live on the same block as the church where the ECCA meetings are held, threatening to have them arrested. For an account of the latest fiasco, see here. As much as I admire and applaud Charles' and Martin's efforts to stand up for the principle of inclusion, I simply don't believe that the ECCA will ever be anything more that what it is. We need to start from scratch.

We need an effective association because our politicians and bureaucracies pay more attention to organizations than to individual citizens. Unfortunately, DC is still a patronage-driven government. You can't expect that a DC agency will do what it's supposed to do just because that's its job--political pressure needs to be brought to bear to get anything done. And we need an organization that will actually express the collective will of the neighborhood and deliver that kind of persistent pressure.

This area has been the neglected step-child for much too long, and we need an association that is not burdened with bile and baggage and is not a vehicle for personal political ambitions. It should be focused on specific issues that are of concerned to all neighbors--new and old alike--such as crime, vacant properties, city services, and education.

So show up Thursday evening and let's start something happening!