From Jim: Sandbags


Below please find an message from my ANC 5C colleague Robert Brannum regarding the DC Emergency Management Agency’s plans to distribute sand bags tomorrow in the event of a storm that might be accompanied by flash flooding. Please take due notice of this information and govern yourselves accordingly.


Jim Berry

“Greetings and salutations neighbors, this to confirm DCEMA will be distributing sand bags (1,000) for the community tomorrow morning – 7:30AM until distributed. The distribution site will be behind Howard University Services Building at 10th & W Streets, NW. Along with the bags will be instruction for stacking the bags for maximum protection effect. Please know those who pick up bags may have to demonstrate District residency. Please note it is advisable to arrive to pick up bags in vehicles with non DC license plates. If you have any questions, please contact me. Robert –”

Robert Vinson Brannum
ANC Commissioner 5C04
202-328-7611 – fax

Ward 5 housing forum



What is it? — How to Retain It? — How do We Build It? “ What About Property Taxes? “What about Gentrification? — Where Will Teachers and Police Officers Live? — Where Will My Son, an Entry Level Professional Live? “Will Middle Income People Be Eliminated? — What Will Happen With Excess School Property? Do We Have Enough Condos? “ Who benefits most from skyrocketing housing costs?

6:30 P.M.

Hazel Thomas at 202/491-9245
Or Stephanie Rones at 202/ 832-3448

Ward Level Politics

Fifth and O has a little something on ANC candidates running in 2C. Daddy5-O asks, and I’m slightly wondering too, um where in the Ward is Kevin Chapple? Cause even though Mr. Thorpe, the current ANC for 2C02, is known for his inflammatory words, it seems it is going to take more than a lovely website to defeat Thorpe. The problem seems to be is Mr. Chapple is an unknown. Of his events, I don’t see a meet and greet. However, digging deeper going to the “forums” he intends to attend the Sept 11 ECCA meeting at 7pm held at the 3rd St Baptist Church on 5th & Q Streets.
I got a question in the comments about some of the Ward 5 people running. As I understand it there are like a dozen people running. Checking the poster’s link it goes to the Moore’s, which includesMs. Miriam Moore an Independent running for Ward 5. I’m trying to remember if she showed up to a BACA meeting, maybe, got to check with Jim. As the TC is on the tail end of Ward 5, we could easily get forgotten, so anyone not showing up at a BACA meeting running for Ward 5 is on my unhappy list. Thomas, Wilds and Zapata are on my happy list only because they have shown up for little things over here on the NW side, giving me hope that if one of them gets elected they won’t forget us like Orange did.
Don’t ask me who I am going to vote for. I am a registered Independent, so my options, in a city where 1 out of 10 isn’t a Democrat, are limited.

Kids in the hood

Sunday’s article in the Post about kids allowed to roam the neighborhood was a pleasant read. Got me thinking about my own childhood and the kids around here. Kids, as in elementary and maybe middle school kids. Not the surly teenagers who roam the city.
For the record I don’t think these days are more dangerous for kids than when I was growing up. Stranger danger is no more a threat now than it was before. However, I notice there are a lack of PSAs about not talking to strangers (there ‘s also a lack of PSAs about littering, bring those back!). Yeah, there are more people with cell phones driving, but there are fewer drunk drivers. That whole “designated driver” thing was new and shiny when I was a teen. People still can’t drive, sober or cell phoneless, but I digress.
As the summer winds down there are kids out on the sidewalk playing and making a racket. Age ranges from 2 or 3 to teenage-ish (can’t tell). The young ones are simply tagging along with the older kids, who more than likely were told to “watch your brother/sister”. B. and I had a discussion about that. Being forced to bring your annoying sibling with you everywhere builds character, and keeps you out of trouble because they are such tattle tales. B. thinks it’s too much responsibility to place on a child. Anyway the little ones mimic the older ones who keep their games and activities on the sidewalk. Sometimes they filter out into the street when engaging with teenagers, the characters from the corner or the grown men willing to throw around a football.
I’m semi-aware of their approved range. I know some kids are allowed over to Dunbar for the pool, or are limited to the quickie mart and no further. Some other kids have to ask permission to play on the other side of the street. Depends on the parent, the conditions, and the kid.

Update: Comments have been closed. Please direct local political comments to their appropriate posts.

Why can’t DC make it easier?

I’ll admit that I am not always checking all the links on the side bar on a regular basis, but recently I took a look at Live Baltimore and I must say Charm City has it’s arms wide open. Baltimore wants you to buy and if you can’t buy it wants you to rent. It makes an argument that it is a good choice for DC refugees by looking at house prices and the MARC commute. Some parts of the website are weak, like the rentals, and it makes a stronger push for home ownership. It is very informative, with the maps and the neighborhood info and history, and incentive programs (with info about qualifying). There is this curious program attached called the City Living Ambassadors, a volunteer program where people from the communities prospective buyers or renters are interested in Baltimore. A quick look at their volunteer board seems that duties include manning tables at fairs, maintaining the website, and prepping mailers. It seems someone is not afraid of volunteers and a thousand flowers blooming.
And what do we have? There was City Living, DC Style, which is dead and gone. Guess there was no need to promote the city. Instead of the open arms of Charm City, seekers will get the DC once-over look, just before the city turns to find someone more important or more interesting to talk to. Washington.Org is more for tourists and the DC.Gov site, well not so good if you need hand holding or explanations, as it may just dump you into onto an agency’s site and really, let the disappointment start early. No where in there did I see a chance for volunteering Washingtonians to promote the city or a neighborhood.
A fantasy Live Washington! or a City Living DC Style, brought back to life would be something that has an easy format. It would tell shiny young interns how to find a group house (and what to expect for the interviews) and suggest what to do after making photocopies all day. It would help the family from Madison, WI relocate and what neighborhoods have yards and their various school options (public, charter, & private). It would help families moving up from Section 8 to homeownership find the few “affordable” set asides that the new condo have. It would have comprehensive maps for crime, schools, places of worship (and their websites), full grocery stores (and their websites), dog parks, etc. Maybe throw in a resident’s short essay of what they like about their neighborhood. There would be neighborhood descriptions with a little history, housing styles, major roads, Metro options, and points of interest (if any). The information is out there and an enterprising person might piece it together from DC.Gov, a few non-profits, and other sources. But why can’t it be easier?

From Jim: DC Parks and Rec


As I indicated to you yesterday, I attended a town hall meeting sponsored by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation last evening. Predictably, citizens from all over Ward Five expressed concerns about the number or quality of recreation resources that are currently available to them in their respective neighborhoods.

According to Director Flowers, a comprehensive assessment of recreational resources and services has been underway for the past couple of years and a set of plans to address the critical recreation and leisure time needs of citizens throughout the city is presently being developed. With specific regard to SMD 5C01, Director Flowers made a commitment to meet with me and other interested persons/parties in the community to determine ways in which to fill the void in services that have been, essentially, stripped away from us over the years. Because we are surrounded by four major traffic arteries (i.e., North Capitol Street, New Jersey Avenue, Florida Avenue and New York Avenue, N.W., respectively), the suggested alternative sites of Harry Thomas Recreation Center and the Kennedy Playground simply will not sufficiently meet our needs, particularly those of our small children and our seniors.

If, indeed, an idle mind is the devil’s workshop, then we need a complete package of recreation services and activities to be made available to our children during their leisure time. We could also use a community center in the neighborhood that could be built on the southern portion of the Dunbar Senior High School campus or could be co-located with programs that are planned for future implementation in old school buildings in the neighborhood, like the former Armstrong Adult Education Center. The point is that there are a very limited number of alternatives available to residents of our community who want to do something constructive with their spare time. Importantly, Director Flowers has agreed to work closely and cooperatively with us in the immediate future to develop some action steps to improve the situation.

In response to my complaint about the nefarious goings on at the pocket park on First and Florida Avenue, N.W., I was told that a $610,000 grant has been allocated to the DPR to make improvements to the location. As I indicated to you previously, a part of the plans for the park is to place gates on both entrances that can be locked when the park closes at night. Beyond this improvement, I am told that we will be consulted as a community as to how the rest of the money should be used to enhance the park.

If you have any recommendations that you would like to commend to Director Flowers, please share them with me at your earliest convenience. Also, if you would like to be a part of a task group that will meet with DPR Director Flowers and other officials on these matters, please let me know that, as well.


Jim Berry

Slow down

I’m going to say that the gentrification has slowed down, along with the housing market. There will still be the gentrification, but maybe we’ve hit that part where we are like neighborhoods that have been gentrifying for 20 or more years, such as Adams Morgan, and the ever expanding borders of Capitol Hill. A few posts back I noted that gentrification in Shaw has it’s roots somewhere back in the 80s. The western part of Shaw, the U Street and Logan Circle bits are gentrified. Not all the construction is completed, but now I can’t see what major thing can come in to dramatically change the current character of the neighborhood. Well a parking garage maybe.
On this end of Shaw we are hoping the retail will catch up.
As far as dislocation goes, seniors have figured out the old folks tax rate, and landlords who haven’t gone market rate already probably won’t anytime soon.