Smells like gentrification…. hooyah!

otherwised titled “gad I dispise self rightous kids.”
I and a few others were out one tonight for a neighborhood cause and I spotted a gang of cyclists on the corner with bright flashy lights. As it was an auxillary drug dealing corner (not the main drug corner) and our drug dealers do use bikes I suspected they were dealers. But then I noticed the helmets. Drug dealers for one reason or another don’t seem to place great value on personal safety and forgo the whole helmet thing. Nor do dealers bother with other safety equipment like lights or reflective clothing. …or following traffic rules. As the gang broke up and biked down the street one said to my small group “smells like gentrification.” This made one member of my party believe that the gang was the “stop gentrification” taggers casing our hood.
Please don’t give me the “promoting awareness” crap. I think all the parties inovolved are aware.

I know it is selfish but I do like the quiet

I don’t believe I am making light of anyone’s misfortune but…

Someone on my block was running a generator 24-7 for at least 3 weeks. Generators are not quiet. In the day, it was no matter and it was getting cold so I wasn’t spending much time outdoors. At night it was a minor annoyance as I could hear it from my bedroom window. I countered it with a little heater fan I sometimes ran. It was a little irritating, but not irritating enough to follow through with an inquiry to the city about whether or not it was legal to run a generator 24 hours a day for a week or more.
I had ventured out in the alley and did not see the generator, but I could tell which house it came from just from the sound alone. I saw several extension cords, including the well known bright orange cord coming from something (the generator?) to a window where the cords disappeared into the house. I asked other neighbors if the generator ever cut off because I guessed it was a gas powered generator and they MUST run out of gas sometime. “Oh, they keep refilling it.” I was told.
I figured contractors might be running the blasted thing. Yet I couldn’t figure out what on earth needed to run on power 24 hours a day.
This weekend as I was out Christmas shopping (no tax on clothes & shoes in DC) there was a fire. My neighbors down the block saw it. At first they thought it was another trash can fire, but when the firetrucks showed up they knew it was much bigger. The house with the generator caught fire.
The damage was the loss of part of the rear of the house and some neighboring vinyl siding. Half of the rear was brick and the other half was wood shingles. The wood shingle part was completely gone and the siding that was next to the shingles melted away. The brick was just blackened. The window on the brick side, where the cords once were was broken. The house next to the brick side seemed ok.
When I walked by to take a closer look I could see that the house was not a big contract job like I first thought. People were living there. The fire left exposed a bathroom, with all the stuff that one finds in a bathroom. And when I passed there was a woman inside looking over the damage.
I hazarded a guess when describing the whole thing to a friend, that maybe it was the generator. ‘Cause really, I don’t think those things can stand up to constant use for several weeks straight. My friend suggested that maybe they were trying to live off the grid. When I think living off the grid I think solar panels, fewer fossil fuels, and more late 19th century and early 20th century methods of living.
Well it is now quiet at night.
Well there were other neighbors who were annoyed with the general humming of the generator and like me were too lazy to bother with reporting it. I did learn that you need a permit to run a generator 24-7 in a residential neighborhood. In the end we all failed. As neighbors we failed to alert the authorities and the renters running the generator failed to sweep up all those damned dry leaves around the generator. And so, we had the fire because we all failed.


And lo, there was much waiting and anticipation for the most holy of holies, that most sacred day Black Friday. The faithful arise before the sun to sit vigil outside the edifices that contain many objects of desire until the gates are opened and all shall enter for the early bird sales.

Me? I’m shopping on line. If I can avoid it I will try not to set foot in Pentagon City. If I have to set foot in any bricks & mortar store, I will try to spend my Christmas dollars in the District. We got Best Buy, Hecht’s, H&M, Filenes, Lush, tons of indy shops (I’m sure I can find something at Go Mamma Go or Home Rule) so I should be good. It would be nice if we had a Target….. when is that going to get built?

I’m also going to make some gifts like I did last year. Last year’s craft were pomanders (take a orange poke it with a toothpick, insert lotsa cloves in toothpick holes). I’ll venture over to Not Martha for some ideas.

People of Eckington, People of XM

You all need to get together.
I was chatting with a co-worker whose husband works for XM and as we were talking we came to the topic of parking. I gather some areas around XM has residential parking so husband would get parking tickets if he parked there. There are also meters, but when he parks at a broken one, does the right thing and calls it in to get fixed, it gets fixed and he gets a ticket.
As we were talking I was thinking. There are people around XM with garages and carports in their backyard that are empty when the owners are off to work. Maybe residents and car bound XM employees who can’t seem to ponder using the metro can work together. For a monthly fee of something like $30-$50 a month (I have no clue, I don’t have a car so I’ve never paid attention to the cost of parking) the XM employee can use the private parking and the homeowner gets a few extra bucks.

Stoner dog

This posting is dedicated to a very extremely laid back beagle when I say you failed puppy, you failed. You failed to protect your people’s property. You failed to even bark when the intruders came in. Now your mommy has to look at you and know that you won’t lift a paw to aide her. That’s love, and I hope you appreciate it.
B&L were robbed this week and hopefully the police will reunite them with their property. We talked about the crime, and blamed part of it on their dog. Unlike other dogs in the hood who bark at strangers and sometimes friends who come to your door, stoner dog is way too low key to be bothered with that barking thing. Stoner dog is like, “Dude, make your self at home. Oh, sure, take what ever you need. Got any munchies on you?”
The moral of this tale? If your dog is laid back, I mean really laid back, get an alarm system.

Truxton Circle Happy Hour tonight

copied from the Truxton Circle dispatch
Don’t forget tonight is the Truxton Circle Happy Hour at Bar Pilar. (Details below)

If you haven’t been before…this ain’t your usual community meeting. No agenda, committee reports, or guest speakers…just hangin’ out with your

Oh you know neighborhood issues will come up…just quite a bit more raucously…especially after a couple adult beverages.

Hope to see you tonight!

Scott Shappell

Affordable environments?

Okay we debate about affordable housing but what of areas/ neighborhood that are affordable to live in. Not just a house to cover one’s head but ability to shop at local shops, find usable services close in and not have other costly burdens that come with living in a particular neighborhood (HOA dues, parking fees, etc). That was part of the idea I had when reading in Sunday’s Post about the tax assessments for businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods like Shaw. The other part was wondering what does New York City, land o’ expensive property, do as they have lots of indy stores.
What makes a neighborhood workable, in my view, is not just the house one lives in and its adjoining houses but the amenities. The poor and the working class do eat out (carryouts), use day care and buy clothes and housewares, and there are business that cater to them. What do the poor and working class do when the Dollar Store and the daycare are priced out of their neighborhood due to rising tax rates? Of course part of me (my inner libertarian?) is asking ‘really is it society’s job to make sure there are businesses to serve the poor?’ My inner Republican is yelling “tax cuts!”
Of course there are businesses that cater to and take advantage of the poor and working classes and I’d like to see them gone. I’m thinking check cashing places. My best friend from high school used to work in a check cashing place. When visiting her I’d hang out with her at work and watch her check the checks and the person cashing the check. Nothing evil was going on, but the thing that bugged me were the fees & charges for cashing a paycheck.
How do you keep the good businesses and let the bad pass away?

End of tomato season

Well the last cold snap did it in for the tomato plants so I’ve had to cut them down. But the plants still had tomatoes on them, some of them a bit red, the rest very, very green. At the end of the day I had two bags of tomatoes. I gave 1 bag of them away. The other bag I brought into the house and put the green ones in the window sill for ripening. All in all I have 39 tomatoes sunning in my windows. That’s a lotta tomatoes.
I also began cleaning up the patio. I pulled out sensitive plants killed by the cold, happy that I was able to put some impatien flowers in a salad a few days before the snap. I chopped up some of the tomato vines and threw their remains in the composter. The soil from dead plants were put into big thick contractor bags so I can use it next year. Right now the backyard garden has been reduced to a rosemary plant, alpine strawberry, arugula, thyme, pot marigolds, pansies, 1 lone spinach plant and some scrawny cilantro. The basil also was a causality of the cold snap. However I have a small plant that barely escaped turning brown and brought it inside.
Other plants like the dill weed and the passion flower vine, just keep going. I think they will perish when it snows.

More Mondie

I got a couple of e-mail Wednesday regarding the ANC meeting and Mr. Wilbur Mondie. I was told the meeting was going long and Mondie and his lawyer were like #18 on the docket and there were “more professional” developers ahead of him who were getting grilled by the ANC. It is reported that at the ANC meeting Mondie withdrew his petition and will probably come back at it at some later date.
However, there is still the December 13th Mondie hearing on the DC Office of Zoning website and found this:

17404 – Application of Wilbur Mondie, pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for a variance from the lot width and lot area requirements under section 401.3, to allow the construction of four flats (two-family dwellings) in the R-4 District at premises 410, 412, 414 and 416 Richardson Place, N.W. (Square 507, Lots 810, 812, 814 and 816).

Um, is this the same thing he presented to BACA? Don’t think so. Anyway, we need to figure out how to get recognized at the BZA hearing if it is still on.
Mondie also seems to have problems with the DC Office of Planning. Apparently he lacks details and is non-conforming. So he’s not going to get support from them.
I’ve got nothing against Mondie personally. I would like to see a building or a set of buildings set on that plot of land at the end of Richardson. However, I wish he did his homework and made a better effort respecting and establishing trust with the residents of Square 507 (NJ, RI, FL, Richardson & 4th). I don’t care if he is or isn’t going to live in the buildings he’s planning on building. I just wish he didn’t make such a statement that comes off as untrue. I wish he paid a little bit more attention to the architecture of the current area. Really, I think he needs to take a breather, go off and get a cuppa tea with his attorney and try over. Spend a few hours boning up on federalist type buildings, walk around the western end of Shaw and look at the new construction and what people have done with older housing stock that is small. Also he needs to figure out how a person with a large car/ minivan/ SUV is supposed to realistically park behind all of his proposed buildings.
I would like to thank Toby, John and Karl for keeping me in the loop, you guys are great.