Last night’s Shaw Main Streets Meeting

I’m not really good at keeping up with some meeting dates. Really to be informed in this frickin’ city there are a ton of meetings one has to attend. And dang it, I don’t want to go to all of them. I did however attend this one for Shaw Main Streets. Well, at least I got free bottled water, cookies, development plan drawings, and there were some nice (unavailable) men to look at.

Held at the DC Housing Finance Agency, ’cause the basement of the DC public library is too dank, the theme was “New Development Projects in Shaw”. When they mean Shaw they mean the 7th and 9th street areas from Florida to the Convention Center, not Logan or U Street.

First off, no offense, but Alexander Padro talks to long. He was supposed to speak for 5 minutes. That was an exceptionally long 5 minutes.

There were 6 potential development projects on the table. The O street market, Broadcast Center One, the Howard Theater, the Dunbar Theater, WVSA AutoArts Academy, and a project at 9th and N Streets. So far 1/2 of those projects look like they’ll be actually done, as opposed to being drawings sitting on a pile. The reason is if you don’t own the land now, and you haven’t broken any ground or at least done some preservation, or buttressing, I’m just very doubtful it will get done. But that’s just me.

The big draw, for me, was the O Street market, which is the big block our beloved ghetto Giant sits on. Mr. Armond Spikell of Roadside Development, which I think owns the land, spoke of a new Giant, as the current one is inadequate and the loading dock on 9th Street takes up some valuable real estate. He had no plans to show because they are trying to incorporate the community’s (must have been some other community group) concern over loss of parking. So they have to think underground parking, which is expensive. The general plan is to build a new Giant while the old one exists, then create a better Giant with more retail and other mixed used things. Then later get rid of the old Giant, once the new Giant is ready. The possible start date on any of this is 2006, and will take about 3 years.

There were some other projects on the slate that were on their way. At 1301-1309 9th Street, Douglas Development is going to put up a mixed use space. It will have 20 effiencies and 7 one bedrooms that they believe will be moderately priced, not luxury. They will start work in 30 days and hope to be complete in 12 months. They will have retail and these apartments. The construction costs will be around $6.5 million dollars.

WVSA AutoArts, you can see their website hope to open at 1234-38 9th Street and Blagden Alley by September 2005. They plan on keeping the auto body shop there and hoping to have affordable apartments for teachers and artists. They are looking for community support.

The Howard Theater is doomed. My opinion, everyone else is hopeful. I say DOOMED, DOOMED I say, because the roof is not stable and if we get a big snow it could come down. Doomed.

Looking at the diagrams for Broadcast Center One, which appears that it is to sit on the empty lot and the shops behind the Shaw metro station between S and T Streets, along 7th. I’m looking and wondering what’s going to happen to the shops that are there? Like many projects, it will be mixed with some housing thrown in. They are proposing that it would be made affordable based on 60%-40% AMI (Area Mean Income). AMI is about $80-$90K.

I talked with my neighbor and roommate about this. L is of the opinion (L. tell me if I get this wrong) that the neighborhood doesn’t need THAT much retail. Throw in a bunch of coffeeshops with WiFi and she’ll be happy, nothing else needed. My neighbor too is concerned about the whole retail space thing, because apparently all the retail in the Convention Center hasn’t been filled. He’s not sure that the community can deal with all that much retail space for all these mixed used properties. I would like a bakery (Firehook) and a Wachovia and a sit down restaurant with wait staff. I say wait staff because the bulletproof KFC on North Cap is technically a sit down restaurant. Don’t want more of that.

We all seem to like the residential nature of the neighborhood. I mean I like it and don’t want to lose that flavor. I really don’t want to attract that much outside traffic coming in. I liked what the O Street Developers said about creating commercial space that is to serve the community. Business that serves the community. Before the developers, Dr. Warren Flint, the executive director of Shaw Main Streets, said they/we want to create “a village environment”. Yeah, a village.


I’m a prude.
Back when I was growing up [sniped long story short, it was different]. Of course, I grew up in the Bible Belt.
Here in Shaw, you will get an earful of m*therf**ker, f**k, sh*t, and such, and that’s just from the 10 year olds. It’s nothing to be walking down the street and hear two people, passing by, engaging in a conversation that is basically profanity linked together with conjunctions.
When I first moved to Shaw, after living in other parts of VA and MD, I was shocked, shocked I say, to see a woman cursing at her 4 year old kid. Now, it’s old. I’m used to it. And that is sad.
Now I know some may say, well that’s just how some folks talk. Yes, that’s how they talk and it is unfortunate that their vocabulary is so limited. Colorful, but limited.

Tobacco Factory

Traveled along the Urban Land Company’s parade of homes tour yesterday with the troop from the fortress of tea and dirty laundry. We saw about 4 places, walked in 3. We hit the tail end of the tour, so some were closing up when we arrived. Quite a few were not completed. Meaning, there where still holes in the walls and ceilings for the ducts and electrical outlets. We did see some cool funky stuff.
The house at 1911 6th Street, did something with the kitchen. They put a wall up, but it doesn’t go all the way up. Oh and the kitchen is small. Very small. As it was unfinished, it was hard to imagine how the walk-in closets would be walk-in. We could walk in them, but there were no racks or shelves. The bottom unit was also odd. Both the bedrooms have doors that lead out to the patio.
The bottom unit of 444 S St was tiny. Teeny. It was like a studio apartment. I think it’s a junior bedroom. You walk in and there is the kitchen, and then the bedroom. Good for people who don’t want to buy a couch. Unless you want to cook on the couch.
Lastly we all wound up at the main attraction, the Tobacco Factory, where there has never been a factory of any sort. The reviews I have heard from others, including the fortress crew has been mixed. Of course one fortress member’s reaction was *slobber*. The Factory is four levels divided into half. The top was available for viewing. Points should be given to the Urban Land Company staff just for presentation. The reviews I have heard were, all the others were less impressive, so by the time you get to the furnished and finished top level of the Factory condo, it is a great improvement.
The best home we saw yesterday was not on the Urban Land Company’s tour. It was across the street. The August In Shaw house [note link changed 5/55/13]of the week owners let the troop in for a tour after running into them at the Factory. Oh my G-d. They did a wonderful job. The house is still in various stages of repair, but the layout is truly amazing and actually understands the limits and needs of a small townhome. One party of the couple fixing the place up is a German designer and the house is a reflection of a European sensibility. The first floor is very open. The top floors are where it begins to look more European, reminding me of some flats I have seen in London. It continues to be open at the landing and doesn’t have that cramped feeling that you can get in DC townhomes. It also brings in a fair amount of light.
Talking with the owner, a problem they encountered was trying to get people to understand the concept of say the box bathroom. This is a bathroom sits on the level like a big ole box, where the top does not go all the way to the high ceilings, so that light from the outside can go over the bathroom, into the bathroom, and into the adjoining room. The other problem were contractors who don’t show up on time, on time meaning 1 hour from the time they said they’d show. All the time spent waiting they decided to do many things themselves.
I want their house. It is sooooooo cooool.

5th Police District

From our wonderful leader Jim Berry:


A message from Art Slater, Chairperson of the Fifth District MPD CAC.

Jim Berry


Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council Meeting –

Thursday, September 23, 2004

MPD Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council

Fifth District Headquarters

1805 Bladensburg Rd, NE

Community Room

Washington, DC

E-mail: Art Slater talader AT verizon PERIOD net

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

The MPD Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council resumes its regular


schedule to meet with Commander Greene to help improve public safety in


Fifth District.


* Commander’s Report

* Invited Speaker: Ken Wainstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of


* Standing Committee Status

* Old Business

* New Business

* Community Concerns

* Announcements

* Adjournment

How gentrification can be just plain EVIL

Friday morning while trying to convince myself that getting up and going to work early is a good thing, I heard over NPR a newstory that riled up passions in my conservative heart. Property rights.
The story is about what’s going on in New London, CT where the city wants to redevelop a section of town to make way yuppie condos. Fine. Problem, they are threatening to use ’eminent domain’ as a way of taking land away from the few homeowners in that area. Eminent domain should only be used to build roads for polluting cars or waterways or big public utility projects, not privately owned condos. Yuppies and the working class are equal in the eyes of G-d, and should be equal in the eyes of the State, but alas no. Apparently because you can suck more money out of yuppies via taxes, yuppies are better people and thus the State chooses to kick out working/middle class homeowners, depriving them of their property. The State is dangerous.
Eminent Domain Watch, a blog, has a wonderful amount of information on this case along with other incidents of local and state governments encroaching on individual property rights.
The New London case is the best example of gentrification evil style. Gentrification done naturally invovles individual property owners selling to either other property owners or corporation when they so chose. They are not forced to sell (ok this can be argued on whaddya mean by ‘force’). Provided they can keep up with real estate taxes and local ordinances, individuals can choose NOT to sell. The residents in the New London area do not have that choice. And that is plain wrong. So wrong.
Should the Supreme Court decide in favor of the City of New London real property rights will be undermined for all US citizens. In DC I could only imagine the worst. My beloved Anthony Williams is already the bitch of the developers ’round here. I know the city likes sucking money from higher incomes and crack fuel housing prices, but if they were given this tool….

House of the week

Near the corner of R and 5th Streets there is a house. A house that used to be one story. Then they built it up in fits and starts. It is in another fit stage where nothing as far as I can tell is being done with it. The reason why 4?? R St is the house of the week, is because it is confusing to me. Someone please explain this house to me. I’m thinking crackhead design. I could be wrong, and when ever it is done, maybe all will be made clear. Maybe.
The problem I find with the house, which you can’t see from this picture, is the second floor door. It is pretty darned high. Currently there are no stairs. There is no balcony. You step out the 2nd floor door and you broken your neck, arms, etc. Now I’m thinking it there are exterior stairs put in, they are going to look bad.
The other thing that bothers me is what’s going on around it. Jorge’s has been leveled and next door on the other side the Urban Land Company has staked a claim. If any of you go on their condo tour this weekend, give me a heads up of what on earth is going in next door.
Hodgepodge, I tell you. That’s what it’s going to look like.

DC-> Hell -> Handbasket

Lo, there was great wailing and nashing of teeth,
and the dead rose and rallied the people to the polls.
Across the great river,
in the east,
the people rejoiced.
In the west they shook their heads and cried.
–MM 1:1-3

Our favorite crackhead won the Democratic Primary for Ward 8. So this morning I’ve been going though the 5 stages of grief. 1st denial. Well that’s over. Followed by anger, still here. Bargaining…. give Ward 8 a supermarket, maybe that would help. Depression, still here, too. Lastly, acceptance, Ward 8 was angry, and in that anger they elected a (former) crackhead who drove the city into the ground. Okay, bring it on.
Oh and Harold Brazil was unseated, as well as Kevin Chavous in Ward 7. Harold had to go anyways. Sam Brooks, a challenger had a pretty good showing considering he is a)white and b) young. Let’s hope Mr. Brown and Mr. Grey (hey anyone notice the color names of the winners?) do a good job on the Council. Although the elections were primaries, they were as if they were the general election as this city is like 90% Democrat. This kinda leaves out Independents like me. Oh, well.
I hope that the city will survive having Mr. Barry on the Council, and continue to thrive despite him. I hope that DC’s goal of representation in Congress is not derailled by his presence on the Council.
G-d I need a drink.


From Logan Circle Discussion List:

LoganCircleNews] Announcement: Ecycling in Washington DC Sept and Oct

Blessings All,

(please forgive the cross postings)

It is time to recycle those old computers and other electronics in the

District of Columbia. Currently the District only recycles these

“household hazardous materials” twice a year.

NBC4 Digital Edge Expo will be presenting their green alley again this

year. You will be able to bring your electronic items to the New

Washington Convention Center Sept 18 and 19 from 9 to 5pm.

The District will hold its regular recycling day at the Carter Baron

Amphitheatre at 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW from 9am to 3pm on October

23rd, 2004

Please help us protect the environment by disposing of electronics and

other technology properly. If you are worried about lead in your water

you should also be worried about lead in the air you breath. Dispose of

these electronics properly.

If you have computer parts that need repair do not give them to non

profit organizations most of them are not able to pay for the repairs.

If you have working equipment we have a technology donation program were

we take computers to give to needy families. Call us for more details


For more information contact the dept of public works 202.727.1000.

A sample list of items

Memory Chips

Tape Drives

Floppy Drives



Fax Machines


Audio/Visual Equipment

CD ROM Drives

TVs (19″ or less)


Scrap Computer Plastic





Hard Drives

Network/Video/Sound Cards

Cell Phones

Power Supplies

Scrap Computer Metal

Copy machines

Peace and Blessings

Shireen Mitchell


Executive Officer – Digital Sisters, Inc.

CFC# 5630 DC One Fund #9504

DCWW GROW Coordinator

Main Office 202.722.Ytec