Crime prevention & DM noise update

Walking around I noticed something in the alley, the developers/contractors finally put bars up behind their house. The problem was the rear of the house had an unsecured entry from the alley. So I’d see kids, teens, bums going into this house’s alcove to do whatever. The slow progression of the owners ‘getting it’ probably started when they found people in the basement, which was open to all from the alley. Developers of Shaw, just because it isn’t visable from the street at 30 mph, doesn’t mean anyone isn’t going to notice that the door doesn’t have a lock. So over time I noticed damage to the building as it was undergoing stop/start contruction. The back door had a broken window, and so that got boarded up. I’m going to take a wild guess that there were break ins. I know, the house is empty why break in? Shelter. Contractor tools. Building materials. Later the basement got closed off. The alcove, however remained open so it could still provide shelter to a homeless person, or temporary office for a hooker. Now finally, that is closed off and teens and crackheads can stay out.
Thinking of crime prevention I always thought we could do with these signs I saw in London. Well the Kew Gardens section of London, because they weren’t in Wimbinton. Simply reminding people to not leave things in cars. I so wanted to steal one of those signs and take them back to the States, but figured it bad form to steal a crime prevention sign.
\\\\The music ended about 8:30pm. I did not call the cops.

DM little party

It’s only 4 o’clock, its going to go on for much longer.
It began around 11:30AM. I wandered off to take pictures of the neighborhood and visit folks. I came back around 3. It was still going on, now there are people there.
It’s the base. I’m sitting in the center of my house and I hear the base. I’ve got the loud fan on, NPR loud and I still hear the gd base. So I wandered over to talk to DM about the music. She was nice about it and said she couldn’t turn the base down (she doesn’t care to turn the base down or the music). She asked if she could just have a little something for her son, just a school thing (son nowhere in sight) and it will be over at 10 (when she darn well feels like it).
I am so calling the cops at 10:15.

Upcoming meetings for ANC 5C

Copied from e-mail sent by Berry


Please find below, the notice that has been developed for the next two

meetings of ANC 5C. Please help us to spread the word in the



Jim Berry






TELEPHONE: (202) 832-1965/1966


Monthly Forum

Invited guests include representatives from the following





Where: First New Hope Baptist Church

1822 3rd Street, N.E.

When: Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.


Town Hall Meeting On Housing

Where: McKinley Technology High School

151 T Street, N.E.

When: Saturday, September 18, 2004

Time: 9:00 A.M. until Noon

Flower Power 2004

The Bates Civic Association had it’s Flower Power Awards ceremony last night at Ella’s Coffeehouse/Frame shop/ Art gallery on North Capitol. It was the first time I had been in Ella’s. It is many small cozy rooms with comfy (2nd floor) chairs. There was a small crowd there about 20 or more people, with Jim Berry ANC for 5C0?, and a rep from Councilman Orange’s office.
Unlike the usual Bates CA meeting, it was a pleasant affair where everyone was generally pleasant. There was no peanut gallery making snide comments. No direct mention of drug dealers or unsavory kids hanging out on the corner. The unpleasantness was spoken of indirectly, using that code talk that we use, talking about “change”. It was an environment of supportiveness. Yes, very unlike the Bates meetings, which the next one is Sept 6th @ Mt. Sinai.
My neighbor wanted to talk about the demographics of crowd, while we were there. Good lord man, can’t take you anywhere. I shusshed him. We talked this morning and he observed that the crowd was basically gay men and older single black women. There were a few black men 4. One white married couple and one lesbian couple.
My block won a block award for our beautification efforts. I don’t remember if it was for first or 2nd place. Like the Special Olympics, everyone there was a winner. I did not win any individual prize for my yard, which currently looks bad. I did win a door prize of a plant. A plant I gave to a neighbor I spotted while heading home, ’cause I don’t grow indoor plants, and I don’t care for plants I can’t eat.

In Alexandria, with mo gentrification

I would link back to my friend Nora B.’s livejournal post, for the love of me, I can’t find it and the girl is a prolific poster.

My friend Nora B. has a condo in an area of Alexandria and her area, particularly her condo, is experiencing the joys of gentrification. First, let me describe N. She’s a big white girl from my native Florida. We met at a confirmation class a few years ago and she was one of the several people I knew buying houses during the wild years of rising prices between 2000-now.

She bought, with he help of her parents, a condo on the western edge of the Alexandria city/county (what is Alexandria?) limits for $140Kish. The condo is this huge, not so pretty 15 floor monster on Duke St filled with brown people not born of this country…. who apparently drive cabs. So Nora was fine with being the only (with the exception of her roommate) Anglo EFL (English as a First Language) person under the age of 50 in the building.

The area of Alexandria that she’s in is experiencing a different sort of gentrification. I don’t know how to describe it as…. different. From Nora’s living room window she sees Yuppieland (which we have a song for) otherwise known as Cameron Station. Yuppieland used to be a military. Now it is a place where people who can afford near million dollar townhomes live and breed. Outside of Yuppieland it’s pretty much bluecollar/ whitecollar, eh. Pretty much what Arlington’s Wilson Blvd area used to be like in the early 1990s. You got the dinner theater, porn theater, CVS, cruddy Magrudgers, Mango Mike’s, and other generic run of the mill businesses.

Nora remarks gentrification
Her first sign that gentrification was coming to her condo was “Republican Guy”. A white man, married, father, American, in a suit spotted. Apparently the condo was affordable, and he wasn’t scared off by the huge number of Africans and Latin Americans running around. Then another night Nora spots, in the building, the Bennetton ad hipster kids. Last weekend we spotted white people in the pool. The typical pool attendees are Islamic grandmas who’ll only show off their feet and the grandkids they are watching.
Another sign came from the condo board. Nora would like more parking, or at least parking for her friends who visit, and the building rules force visitors to park across the 4 lane street at odd times. So she has taken to going to the board meetings. From attending the meetings she has learned that the porn theater’s days are numbered, as well as the Magrudgers. They will be replaced by the yuppie grocer Harris Teeter. Also in a move to attract white people with money, the condo is considering updating the decor that hasn’t been changed since the Nixon administration.

Gentrification in Shaw- Manna Report

If you haven’t read Manna’s 2003 report you should. It covers rising rents, displacement, the personal impact gentrification is having on long term residents, good stuff. The best part is the photo on the cover (this is a PDF file) of 7th Street right after the riots, with the burned out shells. Okay, not the best part, but the jewels of the report are the personal stories of residents who have experienced the rent increases and non-renewal of leases.
The stories do help illustrate the problem that gentrification has brought. Saying rents have increased, nothing. Saying that one day a renter receives a letter that their 2 bedroom apartment that had been $634 a month was soon going up to $954 in 5 months, says a lot.
Conversions are another thing Manna writes about, that I didn’t think much about before. Not just apartments to condos conversions but from boarding house to single family residence. There are several townhomes that you can see along New Jersey Avenue that are divided into two residences next to homes with the same exterior that are just one residence. The report mentions large townhomes that were formerly boarding homes housing several people at low rents that are now for one family.
A good thing about the report is that is does get into the specifics, naming names and addresses. It mentions location, address of particular apartments and converted and rehabbed homes and also businesses that have felt the impact of gentrification hard.
Of course I disagree with Manna on some points, but that is just my opinion. I don’t disagree that there is gentification going on in Shaw. Hence the title of the blog “In Shaw (now with more gentrification)” which acknowledges the gentrification. I don’t disagree that people are being displaced and the sadness of that.
I have a problem with the concentration of bemoaning the areas west of 9th St. That area has been gentrified. Dead to any hope of making it affordable. Move on. Don’t wring your hands about the unaffordable even to mid middle class folks, lofts and condos. Another problem I have is Manna not coping to it’s role in the gentrification game. Yes, Manna sells homes and condos at rates affordable to the people it is trying to help. I gather to cover operating costs, it also has sold homes AT market rate, reflecting the crazy prices in Shaw. Manna is a non-profit, so is it any better when Manna does it and worse when a for-profit does it too, doing what it was created to do…. profit? I remember when I was first looking to buy they and other non-profit developers had some pretty expensive homes. For the ones you could afford you’d have to get in line or belong to a certain group, or wait for …. whenever.
The solutions that Manna presents, would at best preserve small islands of affordable renting in a sea of gentrification. They desire to preserve Section 8 by helping tenant associations. Good if you are in large enough building where tenants can buy the building. Land development, well maybe public land but with quasi-public organizations like Metro (WMATA), I don’t think so. Maybe they hadn’t heard but Metro doesn’t have enough to pass up maximum money making opportunities. New jobs, well, that might help some. But the kinds of jobs needed to afford the market rate rents and houses around here are a bit unaffordable to folks with “good jobs”. And as with my former neighbors, when the opportunity to pull up stakes so your kid can get a yard, with grass, and enough room to play and run around in, presents itself because you got a good job or can sell the house at $$$, there is nothing saying you’ll stay in Shaw.

Glad I don’t live in Bethesda

I might develop a complex.
Going to Bethesda for dance classes once a week was bad enough.
I’m not going to trash Bethedsa, It is a lovely suburban DC neighborhood filled with well to do Anglos, some of my dearest friends live there. Or used to live there. Or live in North Bethesda, which is actually Rockville (Hi Cammy-Cam). And there are good places to eat, two movie houses, and a slew of other neat stuff.
But for me it would be a horrible place to live.
Going to Bethesda to do stuff with friends was fine, my focus is on my friends. Yet going to Bethesda for dance classes and being stuck there while waiting for those classes to start, I began noticing things. Bethesda has a high population of skinny blonde women. Well skinny women in general. If you are constantly bombarded with the image of skinny salon-perfect-pilates-going-couture-wearing women, you might develop a complex. I would. I might be like Carla, who lives in Bethesda, and worries about weight.
The good thing about Shaw is I feel average and ok. Women in Shaw range from crack-ho skinny, plain skinny, average, chunky, fat, muumuu wearing fat, and “oh my g-d push her back in the water she’s gonna die.” I don’t feel like I’m running around in some beauty contest here, especially after seeing a 50 year old woman in a short top and lowriders with her beer belly hanging all out.
I also feel like I belong here. One of the best things about Shaw is it’s the diversity. Eventhough Shaw is becoming less black and less lower and middle income, it is still diverse. The newcomers accept, on one level or another, the diversity more so than their Fairfax, or Prince William Co. counterparts. It doesn’t make me feel that I don’t belong because I’m not rich enough, nor young enough, or not married, not radical enough, not with it, not white, not skinny, or a whole other litany of things that I am not. I can be a single black average weight middle class govt drone who buys her clothes off eBay, and be ok.