7th & RI- only a matter of time

Blocking off the sidewalk on Rhode Island & 7th St is an accident waiting to happen. There is a bus stop there and the bus lets people off. Those few traffic barriers are an island unconnected to safe passage. Okay, say the bus lets you off at the stop there and you’re in the barricade island. How do you get to the metro station? You have to walk out into traffic.
Today I spotted the G8 stopped at the corner of 7th and RI to let people off, blocking cars coming north on 7th. It looked like a safer course of action than deserting them in the barricade island.
Its only a matter of time before someone gets hurt as long as that sidewalk is blocked with no connection to a safe path.

Pray for Jennifer

I really hate hearing about these sort of things. Because everytime, I swear everytime, things begin to look better, when it looks like the past has passed, crap like this pops up. I got the following in an email:

I am surprised that there is no mentioned in your report of the assault on Sunday of Jennifer Ragins of ### Bates Street. She was one of the instrumental people that started Bates Street Civic Association. She was attacked by a wantobe thug. This thug blind sided her with punches.
She was taken to the hospital. This thug lives at ### P Street NW.

This is a house that has been raided by the police several times. This 15- year-old thud attacked a person twice his age. He is twice her size and weights twice as much. What African American parent raise a child to seek and attach a grown woman. I cannot say an alleged attack because there are witnesses that saw it and also heard him brag about it.
It was not a robbery because he took nothing. This was a set-up by the drug boys to silence someone who has been instrumental in improving this neighborhood. The 20 years plus I have live here, I have been a mentor and tutored to many young folks. However, there are those that are not reachable and need to be dealt with accordingly. This is one. I hear that a warrant has been issue but he has not been arrested. Where can a 15-year-old go to avoid arrest unless he has criminal help.
Jennifer needs your prayers and support. I hope that as this crime was occurring, those folks who were aware of it assisted in helping her as I did when a white woman on my street was attached. I did not bother about the color, I placed my self in harms way and I think if I had not she would have received more harm as in the case of Jennifer.

We can not just look out for our clicks or have our private groups. You cannot have an e-mail system or group that only glorify your click. For this community to address these types of criminal elements, all of us need to take a stand.

I’ve blocked the house numbers for privacy reasons. Jennifer and I don’t see eye to eye on the neighborhood’s name, and some other things, but she’s in need of our prayers, thoughts, and support. Pray for healing and justice.

Sexual Assualt in 3D

I wish I could find another source other than DCist on this about a home invasion on Marion Street NW in Shaw. The MPD website has nada, this isn’t the first time I haven’t been able to get wanted/information posters, whatever from the MPD site. According to DCist:

The suspect, described as a medium complexioned black male in his late 20s, 5’10”, wearing a black jacket and blue jeans, may have entered through an unlocked door. Kucik reminded residents to ensure doors and windows are locked at night, and to call 911 if you see any suspicious subjects in the area.

UPDATE: Source on the 3d listserv- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-3d/message/6273 &
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MPD-3d/message/6265

The new people

My block is special.
About a couple of weeks ago we got two new households on the block. One was a single guy who bought a house and the other was a couple who where friends of another couple who’ve been on the block as long as I have. There has been a lot of back and forth between J&L and their friends as they help them get settled in. We’ve left the new guy alone for a week.
Then this wonderful weekend with the weather we’ve been having, so many of us were out in the front yard. So when the new guy poked his head out to tackle the overgrowth in the front yard we got him. I polled him about paint colors, as I’m repainting my house and asking neighbors’ their opinions.* While we were chatting I called over another neighbor who introduced herself and pointed out her husband. Then we noticed another J who was in the middle of running back and forth from the new couple’s house and called him over. Then J after some small talk took the new guy over to the new couple’s house.
In time we’ll see how the new people fit in. I think ours is a relatively friendly street. When the weather is good we hang out in our yards, chat over the fence, give each other unsolicited advice/opinions/warnings, lend/trade/give stuff (tomatoes, tools, etc), and at the very least, we wave hi.

*If you know where I live you’re welcomed to give input on the two finalist (there were more) colors. Though I like the lighter color, neighbors have pointed out that it will probably fade. I’ve been told the darker color is bold, and the darker color is winning the popularity contest. I’ll settle on one color this weekend.

The Underside of History-a rant

Christmas with the family or as I sometimes call it, the meeting of the angry black people (Stay Black! Stay Angry!), brought up another crime the white man committed against our family. This year it was farmland Great Grandpa Kelly had, that the white man took away, sold for a pittance and cut Great Grandpa a small check for. Two relatives, whipped themselves up into a frenzy about how they were going to get the land back. Which will be hard considering it is currently part of a municipal airport. Dibs on the middle of runway 2.
History is filled with tons of stories of injustices, conflicts, and lots of things left unresolved. This just not the great man on the horse history, it is also relatively unknown individuals, their descendants, or their associates (connected by membership, ethnicity, nationality, local ties, etc). Descendants may file/make claims of restitution or restoration, digging in courthouses, libraries and archives to find evidence to support them. Or associates hold past wrongs done to them as justification to fight, to resist, or to distrust.
Playing out on the neighborhood level or in local politics, old (shall I call them ‘historic’?) arguments get dusted off, and are given new life in current fights against or for initiatives, as with the proposed tax on grocery bags. Historically, the municipal government has not always been fair, equitable or just with the Black and struggling populations, and that history has been well ‘preserved’ for the present day pastime of bringing class and race into the discussion.
Present day DC bureaucrats and politicians will be/are judged by the misdeeds of their associates (who have yet to be let go or voted out of office) as well as their predecessors dating back to the establishment of the federal city. I wonder how many DC citizens are still smarting from unanswered phone calls, poor city services, and other negativies occurring years ago, possibly several administrations ago, forgetting the positive efforts, mad at the present office holder?
It is history. It is not the great man on the horse history, but is part of the narrative of how we live today. Things might have been different for me if Great Grandpa Kelly never lost his land. Maybe my grandfather, his son, would have been something other than a North Carolina sharecropper, working his own land as opposed to the land of a white landlord. It’s not great history, but a chapter in my family’s history. Who knows maybe my aunt and cousin will find the documents and make a case against the county, or the bank (or the bank that bought that bank) or whomever ‘stole’ the land. I doubt it, but on the off chance they win, dibs on the runway.

History

This morning I had in mind to write one thing but read in today’s Washington Post “D.C.’s Past Is Prologue,” about the Historical Society of Washington D.C. over on Mt. Vernon Sq. Reading the article I’m a bit concerned about the paragraph:

Thomas said he envisions a place where more records could be archived, such as papers from neighborhood associations — and that could increase the annual line item. The society’s supporters are suggesting an appropriation of $2.5 million to $4 million.

I have no problem with the city supporting and funding some of the Historical Society’s functions, but I’m concerned about what this would mean for the DC Archives (Naylor Ct) and the Washingtonia Division at the Martin Luther King Library (Gallery Place), both under the DC government’s jurisdiction. Does it mean the problems of the DC Archives can be ignored?
The article also says the Historical Society tells the city’s non federal stories and “the King public library and the Jewish Historical Society… have archives, theirs are more specialized.” When the author writes the “King public library” can I assume that’s the Washingtonia division at the MLK? And if so, what exactly is it’s speciality that makes it so different from the Historical Society’s archives? More printed and published material at the MLK? A better set of census microfilms at the MLK? Just for my own research I found a lot of overlap. With maps they and the Library of Congress overlap. The major differences were in quality of the document, ease and price of making duplicates, access, staffing and hours. However each repository has its own particular strengths that don’t overlap. The Historical’s on-line catalog makes it a superior resource as well as its fantastic photo collection. The Washingtonia’s strength is that it gets down to the neighborhood level in organization and has a great library of published resources. But they both cover DC history.
Also DC history is all over the city. It’s at the Historical Society, in the Washingtonia division of the MLK, the Library of Congress, George Washington University, Georgetown, Catholic, National Archives, and the DC Archives.

Robbery on R

I saw it on the TruxtonCircle.org discussion list and there was this on the 5D listserv:

PSA: 501
CCN: 09042554
RPT DATE: Mar 31, 2009
SHIFT: EVN
OFFENSE: Robbery
METHOD: Gun
BLOCK:
LOCATION: Sidewalk
START DT: 03/31/2009
START TM: 20:57:00
END DT: 03/31/2009
END TM:

There is no street or block but the time and the sidewalk location makes me think that it is the same sad crime that occurred Tuesday when a man was collecting his garbage can near his home. It makes no sense, but DC criminals have their own logic.
I pray this is an isolated crime. But I know that the stretch to the better and safer neighborhood we deserve will have these set backs.
Speaking of crime in the TC, I was informed of two incidents, I think happening in the same month of burglaries on Sq 509E. One was where the thief got in through a tiny back window and stole cash from a New Jersey Avenue home. The other was another burglary on 4th, I don’t know the specifics but it occurred when the occupant was out of town. I can’t stress the importance of having a neighbor look in on your place when you’re on vacation or a business trip. Papers, chinese restuarant menus, and gold and brown notes from the UPS guy pile up and scream ‘We’re not home!’

Couple buys house, plans to restore to former glory

Natasha and Boris Petersson will close on a 400 block Florida Ave townhouse today if all goes well. I ran into them as they finished up their final walk through and asked them about their plans. They hope to restore this three storied structure to it’s former glory as a crackhouse.
For over 60 years the property has served as some sort of illegal operation. In the 1930s it was a gin joint, after the repeal of Prohibition the house manufactured artisanal grain liquor that sometimes made customers blind. In the 40s and 50s sales began to include marijuana and other drugs. Drug sales continued out of the house and in the 80s and 90s crack was the main drug. During the crack years the residence served as temporary housing for its customers who sometimes supplemented their income with sex work. In 2005 the house was finally shut down when the property was lost in a tax sale and when the buyers got the city to evict the residents. In 2008 those buyers lost the house in foreclosure, allowing the Peterssons to place a bid.
The Peterssons general plans for restoring the property are to allow their 3 dogs to trample every single blade of grass in the backyard to give back that dirt patch look. They hope to install bare plywood on one of the windows and get the exterior paint to peel. Boris is going to start looking for a empty oil drum so he and Natasha can warm themselves with an outdoor fire in the Fall.

April Fools y’all.

Chickens in the City II

A follow up to Chickens in the City.
I found some language that looks like backyard chickens would be illegal in the District. In the “District of Columbia Municipal Regulations for Animal Control” (PDF)in sections 902 and 903 the language seems to say no fowl and they’re not too keen on pigeons either. 902.7 (a) states regarding a coop, “The proposed location is not within fifty feet (50 ft.) of any building used for human habitation;” and (b) says, “The proposed location is not within two hundred and fifty feet (250 ft.) of any property line or, if this is not the case, the applicant has furnished to the Director with the written consents of all householders and owners of property located within one hundred feet (100 ft.) of the boundaries of the premises upon which fowl are to be kept, and within the same square.” Sounds like the language for dogs parks in that by placing high barriers you essentially make them illegal.
It also looks like keeping bees is illegal too.
I consider those regulations unjust.