March 2016 Archives

This McMillan not THAT McMillan Save McMillan

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Happy Easter. I'm doing my annual staying home on Easter ritual.

I thought of creating a post called "McMillan was an A-hole, Save McMillan Park!" Something that would address the problem of "Presentism" and McMillan Parkand throw in a little history. Thing was I confused my McMillans.

McMillan #2

John L. McMillan.jpg
By US Government Printing Office - Congressional Pictorial Directory, 89th US Congress, p. 131, Public Domain,

I was thinking of John L. McMillian, Democrat Representative from South Carolina who ruled the House Committee for the District of Columbia from 1945 until DC got Home Rule and he was defeated. I could go into detail, but for the District of Columbia, African-American citizens and Home Rule, he was an asshole. Google "John L McMillian" and racist, or segregationist.

McMillian #1

James McMillan.jpg
By Unknown -, Public Domain,

Republican Senator James McMillan is the McMillan the McMillan Park, or the McMillan Sand Filtration Site is named for and he's an okay guy, so far. He had a positive impact on the District of Columbia (he's the McMillan of the McMillan Plan) focusing on the Monumental Core, that area around the Mall and the Tidal Basin. His focus was more on beauty and parks.

So Save McMillan Park
I vaguely remember then ANC and BACA President Jim Berry convincing me to attend as a representative of BACA meetings about developing the McMillan area between 1st and North Cap. It must have been in the early 00s as I can't find the emails and I really didn't want to go to those meetings, so I probably deleted those emails. I favor less development in that area than more and it is a shame that what is proposed seems a little over developed, not leaving enough of the the unique qualities of the site. It doesn't seem to matter that the reservoir and the sand filtration site are on the National Register of Historic Places. Well with enough lawyers and money..... Anyway if you want to fight the proposed development see Friends of McMillan Park.

UPDATE- Earlier I misspelled McMillan. I found that email from Jim Berry asking me to replace him on the McMillan Advisory Group. It was from 2009, not that long ago. My memory isn't as great as it used to be.

Light Rail- I want to pay, but can't

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Dear Baltimore,
I would like to pay for my rides on your light rail. I've noticed your signs saying I should pay and how much the rides cost.
However, there is no place for me to slap my CharmCard or even my SmartCard ('cause in DC we're a bunch of brainy know-it-alls) on the rail.
BmoreLight Rail
One can enter through front, rear and middle doors, and I've not seen a card reader at any of these doors.
I've even looked for card readers at the station stops, and I haven't seen nary a one. But I have seen the signs and the ticket dispensers, which is the same machine I can add funds to my CharmCard.
I have asked the few people who I know who live in your lovely city about paying for rides on the Yellow Line, and they don't know either.
I'm sorry you did not get funds for your Red Line, possibly at the cost of the DC Maryland suburbs getting the Purple Line. If I know one thing, when the Purple Line gets working, it will get some busy lines connected. Now if Virginia would only create a crescent to connect their silver, orange, blue, yellow lines and in my fantasy world, Maryland's red or green lines, that would be wonderful. But enough about DC.
Your yellow line is great. It connects Penn Station (I tend to walk to another station that's about 3-4 blocks away) to Camden Yards to BWI (or WMATA's B30 bus as far as I care). It connects several of your assets, it has value. Is it worth it for you to put in a card reader?

Dream On S Street

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I listen to a fair number of audiobooks because there are duties at work that do not always require my brain to be engaged for the task. On call, but not always engaged (ex. photocopying or scanning).
Recently I listened to two books that I highly recommend should be heard close together. Maybe not back to back as I listened to a sci-fi teen in danger book that was the last in the Divergent series in between the two. The first book is the updated Dream City: Race, Power and the Decline of Washington, DC, updated as the previous version leaves off somewhere in the early 90s. This updated edition goes up to Mayor Gray, but the bulk of it focuses on the Barry era. Marion Barry the activist, Barry the Mayor, Barry the crackhead, and Barry, Mayor for Life. It's not about Barry, but the corrupt city he cultivated, a city that started off promising after Home Rule (1973) but rotted under the cult of personality for someone who was not a servant leader. I didn't care much for Barry before this book, I disliked him more after learning of the alleged sexual assault in the book.
S Street Rising, is DC from the point of view of a crackhead crack reporter. Well former crack addict, now recovered and healing reporter for the Washington Post. I really enjoyed this book, I completely recommend it for any resident of the 400-800 block of S Street NW and anyone who walks or bikes through that area, as I do. The book begins around 1989 when the author Ruben Castaneda arrives from the west coast to DC. I didn't arrive in the DC metro area as a resident (frequent visitor to family who lived in DC & MD) until 1995, and Shaw until 1999/2000, so I could see easily in my mind's eye the Shaw Castaneda was describing. The book gave me a better appreciation for the New Communities Church on S Street, from which one of the best DC non-profits, Manna Inc, sprang. Still not a fan of ONE DC, which may have sprung from Manna, it's like ANSWER, but a bit more housing focused. I'm not a fan of ANSWER either, but I digress.
Wonder S Street
S Street Rising also looks at the city and Barry. But this book helped show that Barry's interest in drugs and women had a negative impact on the  governance of the city. Barry threw Justice under the bus and ran her over good in the appointment of Larry Soulsby, who removed an effective person in Homicide in order to protect a Barry crony. Also Barry was too preoccupied with his passions to govern the city, leaving the governing to his handlers.
S Street, and Shaw for that matter is a different place than it was in the late 60s, or the 70s, or the 80s, or the 90s. I love learning about it's past, but I just don't want to live in the past. Too many drug dealers and shootings.

What is wrong with this?

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