September 2011 Archives

Let's Hope Howard Doesn't Make the Same Mistakes

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Howard Theater Under Construction
With all the talk about the Lincoln and it's eventual demise due to poor management I figured I should wander by the Howard and see how it's doing, after stopping by the Dunbar to get a few dollars. The Dunbar long ago was a theater, and now is a bank. Most old theaters find new life as a CVS, but as there is already a CVS a block away, and this is far too big to be a CVS, selling lotion, diabetes strips and condoms may not be in this building's future.
Hopefully the operators of the Howard will make it a profitable venue. Profitable as in ticket sales to individuals and groups, location rentals to wedding parties and corporate shin-digs, and whatever actually brings in the cash these days. Not trying to keep it afloat by begging the local and federal government to keep it around because 60. 70 years ago some famous people stopped by there while making real money for paying audiences.

Marion Barry fightin' gentrification, in his own way

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Oh take a read at the Housing Complex's post "Marion Barry Calls for Gentrification Commission." It's all about Ward 8, and Barry heading off a wave of gentrification that will, I dunno, get him out of a job? Seriously, if you live in a gentrifed or gentrifying hood would you vote for Barry?

Barry is 75 year old. He needs to retire. Let some new blood in. But y'all in Ward 8, you do whatcha need to do.

Can we change the narrative?

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I had the Help take a look at my census maps from 1880 to 1930 showing the racial make up of the blocks. 1890 is missing because that census got burned up in a fire long ago. He asked if I could try to piece the data together with city directories and I gave him the evil eye.

Anyway he compared them and said 1880 and 1910 the neighborhood looked pretty white, 1900 and 1920 it looks diverse and 1930 it is very black. It will be interesting to see what the 1940 census brings, but I guess the neighborhood becomes even more African American thus adding to the current narrative that this is an historically African American neighborhood. Which in 1930 it predominately was, no doubt.

However, I like the diverse neighborhood narrative. I have no illusions of thinking that people, black and white and the odd Chinese guy, lived in harmony. They may have, they may not have. Yet, I think looking at our neighborhood history with a focus on its racial diversity may be more helpful to those of us living in the present, with its diversity.

Boundary Stone to open September 28th

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Check out the BACA blog entry about the soft opening of this much awaited business. I've passed by the Boundary Stone and like the rough wood decor on the outside.

Confused Redfin Photos for 1625 5th St NW

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Take a look at the listing for 1625 5th St NW. Take a look at the first photo that pops up. Where the hell is that? That is a tall building somewhere. Somewhere not in a block of the 1600 block of 5th. The area looks familiar, as if I've been there, but I can't say for the life of me where this place is.

Then there are the other photos.The second is of the fridge, taken from the vantage point of the floor. I guess it's to show the cabinets and the ceiling in the background. Also the fridge is the white non-fancy kind with several magnets. Ah, don't Realors tell you to get rid of all those personal touches when trying to sell the home? And why are there 3 photos of the blue twin bed with the white stuffed tiger? Is the furniture and tiger included in the $550K? What the place looks like it needs are several Rubbermaid totes and some place off site to store all that personal clutter.

Then there is the description:

Location, location, location! This property is located in the heart of the city. Within walking distance to the bustling U St. Corridor, the charm of Brookland, and the posh of Chinatown. In this location life is at your doorstep. There is a plethora of things to do, see taste and enjoy right in city center! Showings by appointment only.

Oh that's not a good sign. It's all about the location and not the quality of the house. And it is not in walking distance (to me at least) to Brookland. Bloomingdale yes, Brookland, that's a hike on foot.

Really if it sells for $550K then, heck I could sell mine for just as much and I could talk about the quality of my house and block. I could include a whole house history and a house present. I could talk about how great my neighbors are and what I actually walk to around here. I could take pictures of the inside of my 10 year old fridge and my 100+ year old pine floors.

Last week, and continuing on this week, the back and forth emails between several of my neighbors have been about recent break ins of units on the 100-200 block of Bates Street and a car being stolen from our block. The sad news was after the break in on Bates the owners cats were missing. Two indoor cats. Hopefully they have found their way back home, if not a black cat and a grey cat are lost.

Sticking with crime and bad stuff, walking home Thursday or Friday I noticed a box on the 400 block of R Street. It was empty save for some insert that can usually be found in small square boxes when you order stuff. Further along the gate I saw packing paper. With my foot I went to see if the box still had an address. It did and so picked it up and went to the NJ Ave address around the corner. Knocked and no one was at home. I left the box on the stoop. When I order things on-line for home delivery I know this can happen. Pricey stuff I have delivered at my spouse's job. Other stuff, which has almost no to little value to anyone else (worms, books, used clothes ordered off eBay) will come to the house and I hope for the best.

Food-

Yesterday we walked over to Eagle Cafe on 9th Street, where the old Vegetate Restaurant used to be. It was our second try. First time we were there we got chips and salsa and I don't remember being charged for them. The chips had a slightly sweet taste and were pretty good. The salsa, a little on the spicy side to me. Unedible, because of the spice for the Help, who has a low tolerance for spicy food. We had Mexican Cokes, with real sugar. Our second visit, no chips. I had a veggie burrito and I forgot what the Help had. This time we ate on the 2nd floor and it seems unchanged from the Vegetate days. I miss those veggie sliders. Anyway, food was good and filling and on the spicy side. Well the salsa fresca (I think that's the name) was very spicy to me. Maybe I'm a spice wuss. The food is good and makes for a nice cheap date. My only quibble is the speed of service. I find it slow, particularly around bill paying time when I'm ready to hit the road and walk off a bit of my meal.

Preview of 7 year study of TC from 1880-1930

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Well I'm getting close to the end. Just a lot of data clean up. Anyway wanted to give a preview of the study of the Truxton Circle area. Below are three hand drawn and colored maps. The one on the left is 1880, the next 1900, and 1910 on the right. These are rough drafts. Brown represents African Americans, Yellow/Orange are Whites, and if you can see it, Green is for Asians. Red is for businesses and the Homeopathic Hospital and blue is for government own property. The Twinning School is red with a yellow center as it was a school for white children.

3 maps 

I left blank squares 551 and 614 for 1910. I'll fill that out later. Also I discovered colored pencils would be better than markers and thus there is a big black X on the 1880 square 615, where I made an error. The empty spaces mean there is no census data for that property, or there was a business there, or it was a huge track of land, like George Glorius' property where he had his green house.

I also need to draw in alleys. That's what those brown splotches in the middle of a block are, people living in the alleys.

Anyway give me your thoughts. 

@dcfireems and Gray BS

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I call bullsh!t. A truely democratic government needs to be an open government. And every politician as soon as they get in power starts drawing the curtins putting the functions of serving the public in the dark. This guy is a vampire if he can't stand the sunshine.

Okay I get encrypting the police scanners. Fine. The drug boys don't need to hear y'all coming. But EMS? Seriously? Really? How does it help the terrorists if we know there was a hit and run downtown or a fire in Petworth?

Mayor Vincent Gray said the press was "disrespectful". No calling you a vampire or Count Chocula is disrespectful, demanding a service that was timely, informative, and shone light on the activities of one area of city services is trying to make you accountable. The reasons for clamping down on @dcfireems (beside the guy being on vacation) is lame and a poor pitiful excuse worthy of pre-Control Board DC city services.

You know what filtering means? I interpret it as the twitter has to get the ok from a superior who is hostile to twitter and we'll have to go back to DC Fire to figure out what the agency did.

UPDATE: Huzzah for bitching. DCist reports that the filter is off. Party on!

A scam going around

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These things are depressing because they involve kids. Anyway from the 5D MPD listserv there is a scam going on where a youth will knock on the door of a resident and ask for money for fund rasing effort for the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club, which has been closed for 5 years. As far as I can tell minors are not supposed to do any fundraising of this sort (going door to door, going on the metro, etc) for the Boys & Girls Club.

Unfortunately there wasn't any guidance on what to do when one encounters one of these youths.

Past-

The people at the Charles Sumner School Archives are awesome! I got a nice quick answer from them about a school that used to exist in the TC, the William J. Twining School that used to be where the current Dunbar School sits now, but smaller. It kept showing up on maps of the neighborhood, and I was trying to figure out if it was a black school or a white school. Anyway it was built in 1883, and was a white school up until 1925. In the 30s it was combined with the Morse School, then later Bundy. Then in 1947 Armstrong began using come of the building space. In 1949 it stopped being an elementary school, students were transfered to Scott Montgomery, and the building annexed to Armstrong High School. In 1955 it became a warehouse. No date of when it was torn down.

The Future-

A new business that specializes in desserts, particularly cookies is coming to North Capitol Street. Or is already there.

The Present-

I've been having tons of fun with the webcam overlooking the O Street Market. The nighttime images particularly made me smile. Then I got interested in watching the cars in the parking lot and along O Street at the bottom of the camera, appear and disappear. There is a yellow cab that got there at 4:50AM and is still there. Too bad camera #1 isn't up, I wonder what it captures.

O Street Market and NCEC Annex Restaurant

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Something on the Shaw listerv got my attention, and it comes off the City Market at O's blog:
"One of the benefactors of the closing was NCEC's planned restaurant on New Jersey Avenue that will be managed and staffed by former offenders. "

NCEC is a church, that owns a building on the corner of NJ Ave and P Street. This building is called the NCEC Annex and as far as I can tell looks unused. Before that the building was a liquor store, so there has been some improvement.

This brings up all sorts of questions. How exactly does Giant's closing help make a restaurant? Second, what kind of restaurant? Something like the Tuning Fork, Shiloh Baptist (9th & P) eatery mainly serving church attendees and the tiny breakfast crowd I occasionally see in there? Or like Saint's Paradise Cafeteria, a soul food restaurant run bu the UHOP?

Anyway, back to O Street Market. I am seeing some minor changes. More bricks, and some equipment. I'm also seeing a big parking lot 95% free of cars. They must be pretty good with keeping people from parking with enforcement.

Fall Gardening

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Let me introduce you to a site called Dinner Garden. It's in Texas and it was started by a woman who isn't a great gardener but as she says an enthusiastic one. What she does is send seeds to needy families in America so they can grow some of their own food with a few seeds. From her site I wandered over to World Food Garden where they have a handy dandy what to plant when guide. Just pop in your zip code, hit find, then select this location.

According to the guide, on the 26th I should plant beets. Today is swiss chard. I look forward to the stuff I'll be able to get out of my fall/winter container garden. I'm going to try to get some arugula and spinach out of the front yard.

Also from the Dinner Garden site I find Life on the Balcony, which is a small space/ container gardening site and the Urban Organic Gardener. Check out the Urban Gardener's gardens, it shows you don't need fancy pots for gardening.

Since the Spring planting plants are nearly done with. The stupid cherry tomato seems to be done and maybe I should tear it out, regardless of the little green balls on it. However there is a normal tomato that I'll keep around until frost. I've learned I should rip out the turnips earlier than later. I threw some more turnip seeds in the ground a few weeks ago and now I have seedlings. I need to find my arugula seeds and tear out the sad looking adult arugula.

Bundy Field

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Good gravy.

Okay a quick run down on the program and then the email.

KIPP- A charter school that educates African American students (haven't noticed students of any other race at KIPP), some who live in the neighborhood, and some who get dropped off by their parents. It is a very proactive school. Has a playground on site. I've seen children there.

Mayor Adian Fenty- Former mayor, replaced by Vincent Gray.

Jack Evans- Ward 2 Councilman. Bundy falls in his ward. White guy who will be happy to unload this part of Shaw unto Ward 6 CM Tommy Wells, another white guy who seems to deal with race a bit better.

Alex Padro- ANC commissioner, Shaw Main Streets dude, gets around the whole of ANC 2C, regardless if it is or isn't his SMD.

Rachelle Nigro- ANC Commissioner. Unseated a woman (and former Thorpe puppet) whose name I forgot.

Kevin Chapple- ANC commissioner. AfAm lawyer dude. Like the song, don't get around much anymore.

Leroy Thorpe- Former ANC commissioner, until unseated my a more active Kevin Chapple. Demagogue. Last heard president of the racially exclusive ECCA civic association. Chapple and Martin Moulton are banned from his meetings.

Martin Moulton- President of the rival, and more racially inclusive, CCCA civic association. Tall bald black man who rides a bike, and is involved with KIPP and other positive things in the community. Can be a rabble rouser. Was sued in long stupid lawsuit by Thorpe. Lesson of lawsuit, don't cc Thorpe, don't give him fliers or else he'll sue you.

Doris Brooks- ANC Commissioner. Former puppet of Leroy Thorpe. AfAm woman and senior citizen.

Information about my writings about the Bundy field and meetings can be found here and here, and here.

And now the email:

Hi Francisco

There is a big community problem with the proposed dog park at Bundy Field and I thin the Mayor should be aware of this. A dog park was established for the Shaw community during the Fenty Administration at 11th & R Streets, NW. The ANC wothou proper input to the ANC 2-C Commission constituents voted 4-0 to place a drog park at Bundy. Commissioner Kevin Chapple never consulted the Black community organizations in Shaw not the larger Black population regarding his vote.  Commissioner Brooks opposes the dog park and did not know she voted on the dog park during the meeting probably due to her sickness. Commissioner Nigro never informed her majority Black constituents of her vote and Commissioner Padro as well according to his constituent Mary Sutherland who lives across the street from Padro.

Moreover, KIPP never reached out to the Black community and the other Black neighboring organizations regarding supporting a dog park despite the fact that the ECCA opposed the dog park and invited the KIPP Principal to our ECCA meetings twinge which she declined.  KIPP General Counsel Alex also failed to brief the Black community on a proposed dog and was present at our ECCA Meeting on 9/12/11 when the ECCA voted against the proposed dog park - also Ahnna Smith was present and witnessed the vote.

It appears that race and class are the motivating issues to place the dog park at Bundy and Ahnna Emit and Alex Shaw both stated at the 9/12/11 ECCA Meeting that the dog park was not a done deal but has moved forward without the input Black residents.  I missed a meeting at Bundy today with Mr. Shawe and arrived at 1:30 PM at Bundy amongst two dozen angry black women living at 2nd NW across the street from Bundy who complained that Alex Shaw and Ahnna Smith lied at the ECCA Meeting stating noting has been etched in stone about the proposed dog park.

The ECCA believe that park should be about children and residents and programs designed for the instead of a dog.  Unfortunately according to these woman Mr. Shawe and Ahmma Smith are lying to the Black community to shove this dog par down Black peoples throats. Commissioner Padro lied to these folks and should be investigated. We also want this matter moved above Ahnna Smith head by the Dc Government to be dealt with. This is not the Mayors image of 1 Citry we need to comprise on something else other than a dog park for all citizens.

Thank you.

A classic DC way to attack something is to claim racism or racial insensitivity against Black people, provided there are a few white people who are on the other side of the arguement. Also what is completely ignored is the DC Parks and Rec run Kennedy Recreational Center on the block that is Sq. 446, which is probably about 1-3 blocks away from most folks in these arguements, as well as the small tot lot on KIPP grounds.

Monday's BACA mtg

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I have notes from Monday's BACA mtg, however, not with me. So I'm going by memory.
* Ward 5 redistricting- As far as SMDs go, the folks in the unit block parts of the TC may wind up in a different SMD. 
* Crime- Robberies on N Cap involve 2 or more jumping a victim. And don't leave stuff in your car for even 15 minutes, as one guy experienced. These are crimes of opportunity. 
Also related to crime the problems that were in the park have moved to nearby blocks. Residents be aware and call 911, even if it is a bunch of 13 year olds playing craps. Or adults playing craps, apparently there was a shooting over a craps game.
* There was a vote for a BACA secretary. His name is in the notes.
* Weatherization- there was a woman who presented and left literature.

Serving the Needs of Ward 9 Unemployed

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Take a look at the jpeg file here for a PG County Job Fair in Landover. For some odd reason the DC Department of Employment Services is going to be there. As will the Marshall Heights Community Development Corp. However, the Marshall Heights Corp does expand it's services to MD and VA, not just Ward 7, and isn't a DC government agency, so they can be in PG County (aka Ward 9) helping folks in PG County, where they have fancy things like voting Congresspeople and gun rights. But DC DOES got confused. One City does not include a Maryland county.

Hot Button Topic Rescheduled?

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I'm not sure I'm reading BACA president, Geovani Bonilla's, email correct but it looks like Mr. David Guard, of VentureForth LLC, which wants to put a pot dispensary on North Capitol, has been resceduled. I think.

Heck I'll show up to the BACA meeting anyway.

There will be something about the Ward 5 redistricting. And something about weatherization.

Waiting for plague

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My house starts the basements on our block. Though I don't have a real basement. I have a crawlspace/short people basement. It's fine if you five foot something. Anyway this week it flooded. Again. The problem, again, was the sump pump. The pipes for the thing broke off and shot water all through. So we've been dealing with that.

Water is coming up through the floor. The dehumidifer is helping. We're (the Help is) are talking to contractors to redo the blasted thing, so it can be a better laundry, utility, winter clothes and various kitchen crap storage area.

This morning I found my kitchen wall covered in ants. I guess their little underground home got flooded and they decided to go to a drier area, my kitchen. I tried vinegar. Then I brought out the chemical warfare.

So flood and pests. What's next?

The Tactile Dinner Car, without the gobs of sweat

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I wanted to do the Tactile dinner car during the Fringe Festival, but they had sold out and so we just watched instead under the hot and humid tent. When the heat got to us we bailed. So I look forward to the opportunity to do the Dinner Car, and actually taste something.
It begins this weekend at the Flashpoint Gallery at 916 G St, NW (Gallery Place Metro), across the street from the MLK library. Details here. Tickets are here for $25 and here for more with added perks.

Development desert

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O St Nothin

To sum up what I've read off the Shaw Neighborhood listserv. Giant is closing Thursday. The construction might not start until sometime in winter because of financing is weird and wonky, and the shuttle to get seniors and the disabled to another Giant is designed to fail quickly. I guess you Ward 2 people, while you're still Ward 2 people should ask your CM wtf? Because the financing has something to do with the CFO. My family has decided to take advantage of our MD/DC & PQ/TC commute we have and enjoy the new Yes market in Hyattsville, maybe the Giant on Rhode Island Avenue and the Safeway on 5th that is along the P6 bus route or if things aren't too heavy, an extended walk home. And remember the G2 that goes by Giant goes by Whole Foods.

Worst case scenario, I'm thinking, the block with the Giant and 1/2 of the Kelsey Gardens/Addison Sq, will make one big development desert. Conspiracy theory me, says the Ward 2 CM knew this project was troubled and didn't fight for it as much as the beloved Convention Center.

This area could be so great, but alas, *sigh*.

Random Announcements

Eartquake damage

Church of the Ascension and Saint Agnes, which was where one of my favoritest priests in the whole world was, has some serious earthquake damage. The following is from the H-Net/ H-DC Discussion:

Earthquake damage to church
http://www.ascensionandsaintagnes.org/html/parishlife/weeklyreport.htm

A structural engineer and our roofing contractor have identified
earthquake damage to the church. Temporary measures are being taken to
insure safety.
Fencing has been erected around part of the front yard of the church. The
church is accessible from Massachusetts Avenue as usual, but only one set
of the double doors will be in use. The temporary fencing encloses the
space from the middle of the front doors, down the front walk to the
sidewalk, west for 30 feet and then up to the corner of the rectory is to
ensure that no one will be injured should any additional stone fall from
the minaret [sic?]. The roofing company, stonemasons, and structural
engineer all recommended this precaution. A crane will be brought in soon
to lower the large pieces of stone that have fallen into the crevice
between the church roof and the minaret. At the same time the structural
engineer and stonemasons will evaluate the integrity of the minaret and
make recommendations of how to proceed.

For the time being everyone is advised to stay out of the choir loft and
to avoid using the exterior door near the St. Francis Chapel. Until the
minaret has been evaluated there can be no inspection of the organ.

There was no damage to the church or the parish complex from Hurricane
Irene. Wagner Roofing is to be commended for the excellent job they did on
sealing the roof damage caused by the earthquake.

If you notice something amiss or have concerns about the building please
contact the wardens or the parish administrator.

And there will be a special talk for senior citizens at the Shaw Library:

A special talk will be delivered later this month at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library. 
 

Susan Wranik, a board certified speech-language pathologist, will deliver a talk on Tuesday, September 20th on Improving Thought and Memory. The talk will occur at 2 PM.

Many older Washingtonians are concerned about increasing forgetfulness. Some no doubt are concerned about medical reasons for the deterioration but many can benefit from the simple and practical advice Susan offers to improve their memory and mental sharpness. Surprisingly, many younger people have found Susan's talk to be beneficial because it is all too easy to forget in this age ofover-scheduling and multitasking. Susan has delivered similar talks at several neighborhood libraries in Washington, D.C., drawing strong crowds and overwhelmingly positive responses.

Please consider coming and please feel free to let other Shaw residents know that they will be welcome!

The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library is located right off of Rhode Island Avenue at 1630 7th Street, NW. Directly adjacent to the library is the Howard University/Shaw Metro stop (Green Line). The phone number for the library is (202) 727-1288.

I'm feeling lazy so cut and pasty the press release:

SHAW MAIN STREETS BAR CRAWL THROUGH HISTORIC WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON, DC ?- The Shaw Main Streets, Inc (SMS) organization is
proud to present its Inaugural Bar Crawl on Saturday, September 17,
2011, from 1pm-6pm. The Shaw Bar Crawl will bring together Shaw Main
Streets residents and young professionals to enjoy beer, wine, spirits
and mini bites at local restaurants and bars all under $5.

Tickets are $35; this is good for admittance in each venue as well as
special drink and beer discounts the day of the Bar Crawl. This
inaugural crawl includes 10+ venue locations, Nellies, Etete, 901
Restaurant, Beau Thai, Queen of Sheba, Old Dominion Brew House, Axum,
Little Ethiopia, Boston Wine and Spirits, Passenger and many more.
Drinking is 100% optional!

SMS is a non-profit organization facilitating a community-driven
process to revitalize the 7th and 9th Street commercial corridors of
the Shaw area following a comprehensive four-point strategy of
organization, public outreach and marketing, physical improvements, and
economic development.

SMS  seeks to raise awareness of neighborhood communities, local
businesses, and charities through the promotion of organized events.
Shaw Main Streets Bar Crawl mission is to SUPPORT restaurants, bars,
galleries and more in the SMS community while helping them gain
exposure to new patrons. RAISE money and awareness of community issues
by supporting local non-profit partners.  NETWORK with neighbors,
business owners and professionals in support of charity and local
businesses.

WHAT:
Shaw Main Streets Inaugural Bar Crawl

WHEN:
Saturday, September 17, 2011
1:00pm to 6:00pm

Tickets: $35-  Bar Crawl ticket holders recieve a wristband for all
drink and food specials! To purchase tickets and additional info go to
www.shawmainstreetbarcrawl.com

WHERE:
Starting at Nellies, 900 U Street NW (Members will receive SMS Bar
Crawl wristbands)
Ending at 901 Restaurant, 901 9th St., NW (I St.)


Enjoy an afternoon with friends while giving back to your community!

Crawl With Us!

Jobs and percentages

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I got the press release from Eleanor Holmes Norton's office. Instead of deleting it on sight, I bothered reading it and was confused. Summed up it said 1/3rd of workers at the DHS site were District residents. So? And. Well actually what I needed to know is what is the preferred precentage. EHN has mentioned (to my recollection) in the past that some federal contracts have something stating percentages or numbers of District residents. Was that in this deal? I'm trying to figure out, did someone actually do something wrong?

Two of my neighbors work for Clark, a major contractor working on the St. E site. I'm not sure what exactly they do. I imagine they stand around in hard hats and Dockers and point at stuff. I guess they might yell stuff to guys in Spanish, then go back to pointing at stuff. One of those neighbors has been with Clark for well over 5 years, so I assume Clark already has people and relationships with sub-contractors well before starting a job with little need to go about hiring a huge percentage of extra people for just one job.

As it has been pointed out District residents hoping to move up via these construction jobs are wasting time. When I last looked at the Bureau of Labor's Career One Stop, as far as occupations go management and security are your best bets with the most job openings in DC. Construction jobs are no where in the top 50 of careers with the most openings. And unless you count industrial engineers, there aren't any building careers in the construction field in the top 25 fastest growing careers. We'd do better by preparing DC's unemployed to feel people up as TSA agents at the airport, or for something else that businesses and bureaus are actually hiring for, not the 1950s economy.