Handicapping the local ANC races

Ok, we all know they’re coming in seven days and it’s pretty clear where a lot of regular readers/posters fall with their preferences…. BUT. What are the odds in these local ANC races? Anyone want to venture, with one week before the election, who’s going to be winning and what the vote split is going to look like?

The two races I’m personally most intrigued by are Kevin Chapple vs Leroy Thorpe (that’s the only website @ Thorpe I’m aware of. He definitely should have launched his own) and Kris Hammond vs Cleopatra Jones (the ANC Comish is in no way affiliated with that movie, to my knowledge). It’s clear that the incumbents are being challenged by individuals with new approaches, abundant energy and a different perspective on things.

I think the results of the election will be interesting because if Leroy and Cleo are defeated, it may have signaled this part of Shaw has already moved past a tipping point, of sorts. If Kris and Kevin can’t quite do it this time, what does that mean for the ‘hood? Well, obviously it means more of the same from the same ANC Commissioners. Which isn’t great. And it probably means that the vocal newcomers’ bark is less than their bite for the time being. Or it might mean that the “old timers” fears about gentrification may have been exaggerated. Or it could mean that the incumbents are the better candidates. Which I personally do not believe.

So, what are your best guesses for any of the local races? Who’s going to win and what is the vote split going to look like?

Gimme Shelter

I’m posting this for the webmistress, who is unable to post now…

I have a theory of why our friendly neighborhood drug dealers have cut back staff and operating hours from their man on the street operations. Well several theories. Lack of places to duck and weakening local networks.
When I arrived 5-6 years ago there was a vacant house on almost every street on every block. Vacant houses make for excellent office space for certain underground activies. Also if you hung out in front of them or sat on the steps, who was to shoo you off or call the cops? In addition to vacant houses filling up with residents, the residents in those houses, not so tolerant of the drug dealing. They tend to call the cops and get angry and frustrated when the police are a no show. Despite that, they keep calling. Maybe a little tolerance is given by a bleeding heart, but I’m guessing the constant hanging out, the violence and the senseless littering can turn a heart cold.
There are also a lack of lookouts, fewer neighborhood kids to apprentice and fewer poor lonely moms to recruit. There aren’t as many local people to draw upon as customers or subcontractors. More noise than signal. Sure you have the homeless and those wandering in for the methadone clinic, but there is the competition for them from other neighboring enterprises and the many of them tend to head out after a certain time.

Whaaa?

Hi folks, this is Truxtonian, not Mari. Mari was on my case for not posting in a long time, so I feel compelled. Anyways, this is probably going to raise the webmistress’s ire. But, Mari, it’s a post– so remember that.

Well, the primaries came and went. Comments are flowing on previous posts about ANC elections. Very interesting. Very interesting, indeed. All I have to say now is that I got a message from the Eckington listserv, which reposts from the Bloomingdale listserv (yes, this is 3rd or 4th-hand), about ANC Commissioner Robert Brannum being endorsed by Senator John Kerry for the DC Board of Education. To that I say an emphatic, WHAT?!?

Ok folks, look forward to the “real” election on November 7th. Maybe the mayor has been more or less decided, but there are a lot more more interesting elections that will greatly impact us DC folk forthcoming.

Central location and (rising) gas prices

I saw this article from a local neighborhood list serv about how gas prices could be the end of the suburban migration pattern. I’m not sure it’s going to happen that fast, but I think it’ll certainly be something on people’s mind when shopping for places to live.

This probably really isn’t news to anyone who decided to live in Shaw. In fact, it was a big part of the reason I personally chose the ‘hood so if I thought of it– well, everyone else probably did too. But the article is a good read arguing for better urban land use.

Three cheers for central location and public transportation.

Scoop

This just in….

Apparently the dry cleaners on 4th St, just south of Florida is getting the final inspection today and will be opening shortly.

Yes, yes. I know. It’s been “this close to opening” forever. I talked to the owner this morning and she said they will be open very soon. I’m going to believe it this time.

Policing Strategies

If you’re curious to read more about policing strategies, Google is your friend.

Alternatively, you could be lazy and just read this or read about Philadelphia’s strategies (at bottom of page). Philly identified all open air markets and put two uniformed officers at each site.

I know there’s going to be a lot of discussion over the coming days about what are the appropriate steps to take. I think the community should focus on how to get the political and MPD leaders to take responsibility for making a serious and noticeable change. We need to focus on individuals’ accountability. Press Orange on this and make him make it a campaign issue. Don’t let him talk about budget, there are a lot of reasons why his increase in budget is bad idea or just a red herring…. It’s throwing good money after bad, it requires too long to get new officers and programs up to speed and, most simply, more money just isn’t necessary to make arrests.

My suggestion is to get Councilmember Orange, Chief Ramsey and the PSA Lt’s in a room and have them all commit to (by signing) a short-term and a long-term plan with metrics that they can be measured to. People do what gets measured and reported.

Other ideas?

Crime Meeting

So I just got back from the emergency crime meeting. Interesting hour and a half. It’s tragic that two individuals were shot last night at 1st & O St and Bates area. That has to be said upfront. It’s proof that though the Eastern edge of Shaw continues improve, there are still quality of life and crime issues that exist in the area that need to come to a hard stop, immediately.

Couple of thoughts. Vincent Orange was there and sort of took a MC role of the meeting. I’ve said it before on here, but I, Truxtonian, really do not like the man… at least as a public official. I think he does a very poor job with the responsibility bestowed upon him and he has done far less for the ward than should be expected of an elected representative. If he had put half the effort in helping his constituents fight crime as he has in his cheap political theatrics while running for mayor… well, there’d be less crime in his ward. I could go on about him, and how I think he cheapened the discussion with his calculated jabs against Cropp and other Councilmembers, but I saw this today and I think it sums up the tragedy of Vincent Orange quite nicely. Read Orange‚Äôs Long Shot Candidacy halfway down the page.

Ok, on to the meeting. If you missed the meeting, here’s my take on it. It may vary from what others heard or saw. The officers there, Lt Welch and Lt Wright, are very eager to make changes in the area. They picked up PSA 501 in February (I believe), so they haven’t had responsibility for the area for very long. Regardless, the residents in attendance did not seem very interested in cutting them much slack. Most of the residents’ heartfelt comments seemed to revolve around why the 1st St area has had problems with crime for the past 10+ years. There were emotional appeals and most people brought up fair points, to be sure. However, I’m not sure if the two Lieutenants are the right targets for some of the outrage. Maybe they are, I don’t know. One memorable moment was when ANC Brannum stood up and said that the dispatchers intentionally treat calls originating in this area differently than calls originating from other areas west of the park– implying the MPD does not respond to dispatches here the same as they do in more affluent areas because of who lives here.

Anyways, Lt Welch’s message was this: “Make us accountable to you.” So, whenever you call in a situation/issue, get the dispatcher’s number and record the time of your call. Write down the number of the scout car that is dispatched (it’s on roof, back bumper and sides of car). Follow up with Lt Welch, personally, if you are dissatisfied with the MPD’s service and provide enough information so that he can look up the officer that was dispatched, check the recording of the phone call with dispatch, and determine where the MPD failed the public. Lt Welch talked about some major progress that they continue to make. I think he mentioned four arrests for carrying weapons in the Bates/1st St area in the past week or so. He also said something about arresting an individual with something like 14 bags of heroin on him in the Hanover area within the past day or two.

Finally, the MPD mentioned that they have a pretty good idea of where a lot of the crime/chaos on 1st street is coming from. They identified a specific number of homes (3) that they believe are responsible for a large share of the crime. They are working hard to find a way to change the status quo. Time will tell how successful they will be.

Someone else there will probably have more info, another take on the meeting or something of more value than my quick impressions.

The media

Well, the Post has covered the story of St Martin’s and Eckington’s opposition to the project. The story is worth a read. I think the opposition to the plans is a more complex issue than the amount of ink they received, but at least it is being covered. I continue to be shocked by things said by Father Kelley as well as some of Sharon Robinson and Neal Drobenare’s “messaging” tactics. But that’s for another post to the blog…

While the St Martin’s project is an interesting issue to be played out (I’ve posted before I, personally, am not supportive of the plans as they stand), it reminded me of the story in the Post this week about changes coming to H Street. On Frozen Tropics the story set off a comment storm. Many people seem to take issue with some of the quotes attributed to people in the article. However, there seemed to be a consensus that the writer went out of his way to push an angle for the story that isn’t actually there. Richard Layman’s post on the issues raised in the article is well worth a read when you have a moment and really covers the true issues.

My point of bringing this up is that this is unfortunate that the media appears to be picking up and playing race issues a lot recently, and it’s not just the Post in these two stories. I don’t agree with the way such a complex issue for Washington, DC is being covered in such a shallow name-calling sort of way.

However, I realized last night that Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 and the DC riots were from April 4-8th. I can’t help but wonder if these stories are being printed now in some great, ironic, coincidence or whether there is some editorial knowledge of the significance of this week in DC history. I wasn’t around for the riots in DC but all who are living in these parts of DC live in the legacy of those riots. If you want to read more about the riots, there are many resources on the web to turn to, including Wikipedia. There’s also this excerpt from “Ten Blocks From The White House: Anatomy of the Washington Riots of 1968″, which was written by WaPo staff in 1968. Note: I haven’t deciphered the politics of the site that hosts that excerpt, nor have I checked the accuracy of the reproduction of text from the book.

Ok, so I was wrong about the media attention

Apparently the pellet gun shots at the school bus didn’t gather the attention I thought it would. And Vincent Orange attended Marion Berry’s State Ward 8 speech last night in Ward 8, so I lose my $5 on that bet.

However, it appears that the media has already turned it’s focus to the story that a 7 year old girl accidentally took her mother’s (illegal) handgun to school on 1st St NE yesterday. Yesterday was not a good day for school kids around North Capitol Street. It’s shameful that the mother would be so careless with a handgun with such a young child around. Seriously shameful. As in, no excuses, terrible parenting, you should be severely punished.

So anyways, I guess my point is it’s not a good time to be a elementary school kid around North Cap. This made me realize it’s going to be a loooooonnngg time before I’d be excited about sending my child to a public school around here.