Scamming little brats

New Eckington Kid on the Block has posted his/her unfortunate experience with some scamming kids. Not only was he/she (really I don’t know his/her gender) out of $17 bucks, the little theives also attacked the checking account. My neighbor B. got hit once (at least 1 year ago) but I think he just gave cash so that was all he lost.
My useless bit of advice. Think Girl Scout Cookies. Now at some point in your life you will get hit up by some friend/neighbor/ co-worker/ random parent to buy their kids’ cookies. Thin mints are my fav (if you see any give me a heads up). Anyway, it usually works like this, you pledge to buy the cookies, you forget about the cookies, a month later you get a mysterious call demanding money and a cookie pickup. Only then do you hand over the dough for cooked cookie dough. Same thing for any other cookies, fruit, jewlery, gift wrap, or whatever crap they’re making middle schoolers sell these days. You pledge to buy it but you don’t hand over any cash till the little people give you your stuff. Anything else, more than likely a scam.
There is another thing, more than likely a scam, helping kids buy football jerseys. I get hit up for this every so often on the metro or at the metro. Middle School aged boys mummble something about fundraising and sports and hand you a copy of some form that looks as if it has been copied a hundred times before. I usually tell them I support the kids on my block and I don’t want to risk supporting an opposing team. The kids on my block have never hit me up for fundraising money (candy, yes; odd jobs money, yes).

April 1st- Gardening

Ah it is going to be a busy, busy weekend. Besides having to remember to Spring forward (turn your clocks 1 hour ahead) and being April Fools’ fool, it is also the first day to plant a lot of stuff according to the University of Maryland (or State of MD) Home and Garden Info Center’s planting guide (*PDF). I got all sorts of plants going and I’ve been pulling the worms from the compost (so they can work on the next batch) and using the compost from Fall’s and this Winter’s clippings and refuse. Although I am trying to grow some things from seed, I have a feeling that I will give into the tempation and buy whole plants, particularly if they are interesting varieties. Last year I gave in to the Zebra Tomato, takes forever to turn red, but very yummy.
I am tempted to wander over to the National Cathedral’s greenhouse (take the 90 bus going to McLean Gardens) to grab some more herbs. Like I need more. Maybe I just want to use the 10% discount (.doc file). There are herbs over at the Garden District, but I have to go out to the Cathedral anyway and try to hunt somebody down. I know I’ll stop by the Garden District to at least pick up dirt.
I’ve told some of you that I am planning to make my yard an all edible yard. Let’s see how that works out. I might keep some grass but I wonder if peppermint (for mojitos!) and thyme would make a better ground cover. I also want to plant swiss chard for color. The blueberries are struggling along, making me wonder if I should add more. I’m going to try squash again, but this time in the ground. As I wrote, we’ll see.

Guys on the corner

It is difficult to judge if the corner is getting better or worse since last year. I know it is better than the first year I moved here, but comparing it with 2005, hard. The problem, our friendly neighborhood drug dealers.
There was a crowd of surly teens that used to hang out in front of one house, where other surly teens lived. Sometimes there would be a little back and forth to the corner but they’d go back to their friend’s house. Recently I have noticed that some surly teens have taken to hanging out on the corner, where normally they had not been before. It seems to me that they are trying to make new hang out spots. One neighbor mentioned that they had set up in front of her house, with chairs. She called another resident for neighborhood reinforcements. I haven’t heard of the kids doing it again.
Recently I heard of an old timer confronting the guys on the corner about cleaning up. The corner boys asked the old timer why everyone called them drug dealers. Ha! Let’s see, you hang out on a corner, in a neighborhood where you don’t live, where there has been drug activity before. Gee, I don’t know. It’s one thing when you hang out in front of a friend’s house, it is a whole ‘nother when it is on the corner or in front of someone you don’t know.
And since I’m slightly touching the topic, out neighborhood crack ho has branched out into drug dealing. She doesn’t do the corner, she hangs out in the middle of the block and it has been mentioned by a neighbor that she was spotted distributing something in a tiny little baggy. Is this improvement, because to be a seller you must be able not to smoke up all your inventory. But she’s going to get caught one day, if the cops bother to stop her, because she isn’t as organized as the dealers. The dealers don’t keep the inventory on their person. They hide the drugs in garbage cans, in people’s yards, in other neighborhood nooks and crannies so when they are stopped by the police they don’t have drugs on them.
Is it getting better or worse? Still very hard to tell. I’d like to think as more folks who are less tolerant of drug dealing and anything that looks like drug dealing remain and like minded folks move in, yes, it will get better. More people calling the police, fewer people providing shelter and safe haven for the dealers, more people maintaining their properties so there are fewer places to stash the stashes, those things should make things better.

More talkin’ smack about 1617 NJ Ave NW

Okay it has been about 40 days since 1617 New Jersey came on the market and it still hasn’t sold (as far as I know) and last night I heard some power tool noise coming from the place a little after 7pm. Keeping in mind the listing says:

Newly renovated, finishing touches being completed (will be completed prior to settlement).

It looks like it will still be a while before the contractor is done with the finishing touches. I’ve noticed (based on the noise factor & the sight of his dog on the deck) he does a little bit of work, here and there but nothing sounds as if he’s picked up the pace. It seems that we’ll be fully in a buyer’s market before he’s done.

Still early but thoughts on some candidates

Good news it has been reported by our Eckington brethren that Councilman Adrian Fenty (yes still a lovely cup of cocoa) is supporting the plan to allow for the transition of Emery from taking all comers to just serving homeless men with jobs. It seems that someone pointed out that the shelter is not downtown but in a residential neighborhood. And highlighted the notion of sex offenders being housed next door to a facility with a Head Start program. Yet, I’ve seen questions of if there are actually any sex offenders at the Emery shelter, considering they take all sorts it is a strong possibility.
Anyway we know that 3 of the council members are running for mayor, Fenty, Linda Cropp, and the Orange. Y’all know how I feel about Fenty, but he’s not just a pretty face. I admire his energy and his responsiveness to residents. Linda Cropp. If the elections were held today and just based on yard signs, she’d win. There are a lot of red Cropp signs in my hood. She’s got experience and knows the city government. What one can hold against her is that same experience and familiarity with District government. Then there is the Orange. Vincent Orange. A neighbor pointed out that for three years he didn’t even acknowledge the NW section of Ward 5. My problem, it seems that he is out of touch with reality and residents. When he started his campaign I was wondering who among the residents is supporting this guy as a viable candidate? Where is his base? Businesses, contractors, can only vote with their dollars but what about those with votes that really count? When listening to people (voters) I hear support for Cropp, Fenty and Marie Johns.
Oh and then there is Marie Johns. Former telephone exec. I am worried about her lack of elected office experience. I have a preference for folks who have had to deal with consituents, some who have opposing needs.
Michael Brown? He seems like a nice guy. He’s got all the right connections. I just don’t feel any excitement.
She’s not running but I’ve seen a pattern, so I ask the Republicans of Washington, DC to please, please, please don’t force Councilwoman Carol Schwartz to run for mayor, again. It just seems cruel. Find someone else. Don’t put her through this again, and again. Come on there must be someone in your ranks who can run instead.
Speaking of running again, and again, there is Faith. Chick with a horn. You can usually count on her to run, ever hopeful that this time, this time she’ll have a chance. With so many on the ballot, hey you never know.

Beating a dead horse: Churches and parking

Okay I read the following from the Logan Circle listserv and got angry. Now before you read let me tell you what was going through my mind. There are Christians and there are “Church Folk”. “Church Folk” are the agents of the Devil undermining the work of the Almighty. They call themselves christians but harbor within them enough hate, spite, uncharitablity towards their fellow man and self-centeredness to share.

Is the John Wesley AME Zion Church at 14th and Corcoran one of the churches that is part of the discussion with the ad hoc committee on parking?
I just had a really bizarre experience this morning when my car was blocked in by double parkers on 14th street. After about 40 minutes and asking 5 different people in the church vestibule to please move the cars double parked and blocking me in, it was pretty clear that no one was going to move until services were over.
The white Hyundai DC plate BW0830 that was double parked directly beside me never did move.
Luckily another neighbor who was parked behind me (legally) came by. He was not blocked in, and was able to get out. As he was trying to get out, amazingly, another church goer, A gold Mercedes, MD license MNV622 pulled up to double park next to him to block him in. I tried to explain that he was leaving and was trying to get out and the passenger in the Mercedes started yelling that this is her church and she’ll park “wherever she wants” The Mercedes driver finally backed up enough so the legally parked car behind me could continue to try and get out.
After helping direct the guy behind me out so he didn’t bump the double parked white Hyundai beside me, this churchgoer in the Mercedes slid into the just vacated space behind me. Luckily a very nice elderly came out and moved her double parked Kia Sportage which was in front of the double parked Hyundai and I managed to squeeze out.
The irony is that even though I explained that I was trying to get home from the gym in time to change because I was doing the reading today at my own church, the level of hostility from the churchgoers was pretty palpable.
I did call both 311 then 911 when the Mercedes was so aggressive, but no one from the police came, and there were no warning notices on the double parked cars. Looking around I could see legal spaces available, and just across the street they could have instead double parked in front of the construction at 14th and Q without blocking anyone in. They also had some sort of attendant standing there the whole time at the parking lot they use at 14th and Corcoran. He identified himself as a retired pastor of the church and would do nothing to try and get the cars moved.
Can someone remind me of the status of enforcement of parking laws and whether this particular church is subject to whatever compromise was worked out?

My weekend 3/24-3/26

Note: Do not refer to someone as a hot beverage less than 24 hours before meeting them.
One pro-Fenty neighbor hosted a wonderful meet and greet brunch for Fenty. It was a small affair so there was an opportunity to talk to Fenty one on one (provided you weren’t too embarrassed to do so) and ask questions. A majority of questions focused in on crime and loitering. Residents want cops walking a beat. And speaking of cops walking a beat, LB, who took the picture of the walking policeman, mentioned she hasn’t seen a cop since. There was also the question on education. Fenty mentioned something about setting up a deputy mayor for education. The affair was an easygoing friendly (and well stocked with enough food to feed 2 other events like this) one where neighbors got to meet each other and talk about their experiences with dealing crime and folks lingered well after Fenty and his handler had left.

People pregnant
Congrats to neighbors who are newly pregnant. Learned this weekend that two Truxtonian families are expecting. While talking with one expectant couple we talked about one problem I never gave much thought to, but thinking about it some more it should be a real concern, space. Some of us live in these tiny little 1,000 sq ft (or less) 2 bedroom federal rowhouses, which is fine for 2 adults. Maybe not so great for a growing beyond 1 kid. Moving up is not an option because the smaller row houses don’t sell for all that much and a 3 bedroom (usually a 2 bedrooms and one walk-in closet with a window) is much more. This is worse when you can’t build up or out due to lack of land.

%$&*@! squirrels
Darned squirrels have been digging in my pots and I’m going to guess they ate my pea seeds. I got dirt all on the patio and I’m going to have to grow seedlings inside, just to save them from the tree rats.

Threatening but squemish
At the Fenty gathering a neighbor mentioned how the gang of kids/dealers threatened to assault them. Now until then many of us had seen the corner gang as a very annoyance only harming their customers (they are selling poison to Blacks, increasing Black on Black crime, and making it harder for us to move forward as a people). A phone tree was mentioned and we’re going to have to step up calling 311/911.
On the squeemish end, Br a very tall, very blonde former college football player was cleaning out the gutters in the street. The problem is that the gutters get blocked with trash, water backs up and potentially basements get flooded and Br and his wife Ls have had some serious sewage problems somehow relating to clogged street gutters. Anyway, so Br tells me he’s going around sweeping up the gutters and cleaning out the clogged corners when he gets to the corner where the kids/dealers hang out. The guys are talking all tough and hard until Br starts pulling out slimy bits of cloth trapped in the corner drain. EWWWWW. They are grossed out by the filth and move on.

Fenty and the Emery Shelter

I got nothing but love for that yummy bald headed cup of hot cocoa called Adrian Fenty but I was taken aback by what is being reported about him and the Emery Shelter on Lincoln Road NE on the members only Eckington listserv.
Here’s a quick review of the situation: The Emery shelter is a homeless men’s shelter about a block away from North Capitol Street in the Northeast section of the city. It is next to a school and the Harry Thomas Rec Center. Residents of the area have been trying for years to get the shelter closed or transformed because of its proximity to children. The shelter is on its way to being transformed into a shelter that houses a smaller working population (ie homeless men with jobs).
At a March 9th hearing Fenty seemed to have challenge the change the residents have worked hard to make. What? The beloved Fenty challenging residential efforts? Say it ain’t so! You can see for yourself by following the link to the recorded hearing here and go down to “3/9/2006 Part 1 PUBLIC HEARING COMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES, Adrian Fenty, Chairman”. Skip over to the first hour and 18 minutes and then skip to 1hr55min. In listening to the testimony, Mr. Fenty is concerned about the closing of shelters and where the homeless are to go. But what I find annoying is he’s referring to it as a downtown shelter. It is not downtown. It is in the Eckington residential neighborhood or on the border depending on how you define residential, but it sure as heck not downtown as I understand what is downtown. If it were downtown…. there would be a Starbucks and better sidewalks.
However to be fair it doesn’t seem that at the meeting he seemed aware of residents efforts and their will. Nor does he seem aware of its proximity to child-focused centers like the rec center and the school.

Ooo Ooo New Stuff for the Convention Center

Got an email update about the Blagden Alley people:

The newsletter is at
Topics of the meeting:
(Expanded from last email…)
Convention Center Update: About the restaurants and brewpubs…
Hanny Chan, owner of Old Dominion Brewhouse, Mongolian Grill and
Tokyo Sushi Bar will be there and tell us how soon, DCRA willing.
910 M Street progress…about those rumors…
John Malone, from the Developer, will be there.
Discussion of the “voluntary agreement” with the new tavern
on the 1300 block of Ninth Street. That’s a standard discussion
with sommunities prior to liquor licence approval these days.
Mike Nelson is working hard, moving things along.
(Note: “voluntary agreements” are not always adversarial.)
“That school”? Maybe something new…
Naylor Court keeps the BZA busy…
On the crime front…seems awfully quiet…
Also, see the web page at or,
(depending on your persuasion). Do hope to see you there.

In that you’ll see what’s planning on going in the bottom floors of the Center. Sushi bar. Umm sushi. But what got me…. “DCRA willing.”