And then hijinx ensue

From what I’ve been hearing about what’s going on over on the other side of New Jersey Avenue, it appears that people have been behaving badly. I might have a naive vision of what democracy is in America, but there are things that come across to me as just plain wrong and dangerous to the concept of American democracy.
For one, even if you are in the pocket of one candidate or party, at least pretend to recognize the opposition. The stories of Mr. Chapple, who is running for a seat in 2C, being outright snubbed by the old guard, is disappointing. No one says you have to actively support him, but rather be fair and practice the golden rule. The rule being do unto others as you’d have them do to you.
What I’ve been told about the 2C meeting and the ECCA meeting, where Mr. Chapple has tried to introduce himself to the voters, comes across as wrong in so many ways. Are these civic meetings or some odd kind of performance art with theatrics and wacky hi-jinx?
Anyway, November you get to vote again. Then you will get to decide about who will be your ANC councilman.

22 thoughts on “And then hijinx ensue”

  1. For all their hoopla and rants about protecting young black men from “whitey”, Kevin Chapple is an interesting example of how these people (Mr Thorpe, Ms Newell & Co.) treat their own people — and a black gentleman much younger than themselves — and how completely unfit they are to serve a community with diverse ethnicities, economic and other backgrounds. Most sadly of all, they have really underserved the poor black community that should be prepareed to take advantage and enjoy all the benefits of a thriving community. These egomaniacs seem more interested in flattering themselves than serving the rest of the community. They cannot even hear the views of others, much lest respond to them intelligently. And it all servers Mr Thorpe’s purposes very well, so he doesn’t question the status quo.

  2. Marty,
    I think you are giving an unfair portrayal of Leroy and the ECCA. He is not associated or on the side of the 3 ladies that run the ECCA meetings. Nor does he side with them on thinking that gentrification is the reason for the problems in Shaw. A couple months back in an ECCA meeting he tried to explain the problems facing young black males (drugs, crime, weak households, no jobs, no willingness to experience other things than the basketball court) in Shaw and one of the ladies completely disagreed and blamed it all on gentrification. Leroy tried to explain to the lady that gentrification has nothing to do with it.

    From my interactions with the ECCA leaders and Leroy it seems like they share the same concerns, but they have different means of dealing with them.

    BTW just last night I saw Leroy walking over to some teens hanging out to go talk to them, about 8:30pm at night. I believe this is only something that Leroy would be able to do.

  3. Roma,

    I don’t think Leroy is the only person in town or ANC2C02 with two legs and a mouth. My friend and I spoke to some teens the other night ourselves. I see people talking to kids all the time, big deal. You’ve got Mr Thorpe on some holy pedestal that he hardly deserves as if he alone can solve the problems facing the neighborhood, crime, drugs, etc. Well, he’s had twenty years to clean things up and this is where we are still.

    It’s time to try something new.

    Leroy said nothing to curtail the ladies and their rants last night, if only to allow time for others to speak (as one of his supporters did to him at the ANC meeting, when Leroy tried to turn the floor over only to his campaign supporters, silencing others) because it served his own purposes to divide people. That’s the only way he can win the next election, if people don”t realize that their common interests are served best by someone who can work with eveyone in the neighborhood as well as the other Commishes in ANC 2C.

  4. I actually prefer Ramo.

    The reason (my sole opinion) we need Leroy, in whatever capacity, is because the majority of the people respect what he is trying to do to fight crime and improve the neighbhorhood. (even if they dont agree with him raising his voice, his religon, harsh comments, etc). I am guessing over the years he has found out to get stuff done in this area he has to be firm. A friend of mine is an ex-Metro cop who used to Patrol the area up until 6 or 7 years ago. He was telling me stories of how it was before and based on that I believe it is alot better. I dont think its fair to compare what Leroy has done to what other Commissioners in other ANCs have done, because they are working with different pieces.

    Also I am not putting Leroy on a pedestal, its more of me living here for exactly one year, and not experiencing anything that would make me think that Leroy can’t do a good job. Here is my question, what happens if we get a new Commish (well presented with a fancy website) and once he is elected he is gonzo?

    I guess we have different opinions, and that is what happens during election time.

  5. Roma, I prefer Ytram (Ytrams or StnapYtrams) in blogs.
    Respect the Golden Rule.

    Leroy isn’t moving out of the neighborhood. He’ll still be hear to talk to the young teens if that helps you sleep better. Kevin seems to want to work for a better Shaw not just preserving the status quo ante.

  6. [webmistress with left eyebrow raised] Everything alright here kids?
    Please don’t change folk’s names around, I find it discombobulating. And remember, play nice.

  7. Ytarms,
    What is a better Shaw? More economic development, more like Logan Circle, more like Mt Vernon Sqaure, more like Clarendon? I just think that if we can keep the area (#1) safe, (#2)clean, and (#3) everyone on the same page. Then in time everything else will get to where we want it to be.

    We are lucky enought to live in a neighborhood where development and growth is NOT at a rate which would mould the neighbhorhood in one way (i.e Columbia Heights). If we can keep the crime down and keep the place clean then what else would we need to make a better Shaw?

  8. Dear Mr Omar (or Ramo),

    A better Shaw would be one in which residents from all walks of life can attend a community meeting in which they are treated fairly and respectfully when they want to disucss community issues without being shouted down by the person holding the gavel or just ignored.

    A better Shaw would be one in which community leaders actually listen to residents when they want to discuss their concerns and to the police officers giving crime reports. This way, we can, as you say, feel like we’re all on the same page. It must start from the top.

    If Mr Thorpe really has this tremendous rapport with all the young people in the neighborhood (most good decent kids, some need to learn respect for others) then why hasn’t he guided them away from the trouble some keep getting into?

  9. A couple of ECCA meetings ago, Leroy told the ladies that part of the problem is that there is no father figure at home to help guide the kids and I think many of us agree with that statement. It is next to impossible to replace that (which is a huge problem) but one thing for sure is that hanging around at the basketball court until midnight is no solution.

    Everyone was a teenager at one point and your relationship with your parents is not the greatest at that time. If it is true that these kids have single parents I can see why they don’t mind if there kids arent in bed by 11pm. For them it would be more of a headache if they are at home.

    The teens that used to live in the area are now older, some have moved to the suburbs but come back into the neighborhood to hang out. They take the place of the father figure and can sway the kids with drugs and whatever else. The problem doesn’t have a over night solution.

    Once these kids grow up they will have to teach the next generation in order for the situation to get better.

  10. I’ll just butt in long enough to say that I actually would argue FOR a growth rate for Shaw like Clarendon or Columbia Heights. A growth “rate” can be independent of the type of retailers, business and new residences that come in.

    Arguing for little new growth is in Shaw is kinda, errr, close minded. No? Are we really that happy with our amenities? The people in the community are here, let’s bring better things to do in the area than kick the 40 down the street. H St has lots to do, what’s not to like about that for Shaw? 7th and 9th, N Cap and other streets need to come alive.

    Now back to the sparring…

  11. T,
    Sometimes there can be such a thing as too much growth. If I eat 1 pint of ice cream everyday for a month, I will experience tremenous growth.
    The thing I do like about the area is that it’s small enough that we can know our neighbors. Too much growth, and I see overcrowding, too much noise and traffic, and heated arguements over parking.
    Col. Heights, I don’t know what they are zoned for but that area has a number of apartment buildings over 3 floors and large enough houses to be divided into spacious enough apartments. We, don’t. Our housing stock is 2 floors and tiny. Clarendon, along the main road you have the apartment building canyon and as you go back, away from the strip you have 1 to 2 story SFH. The high density is limited to certain parts. The best I think we could hope for is Capitol Hill like growth because of what we have to work with.
    PS- T how’s about a posting?

  12. Whatever you’ve heard about 6 or 7 years ago may be true in that the neighborhood is somewhat safer now. But that doesn’t have much to do with Leroy in my view. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, on multiple blocks, and that blocks that I know have gotten safer are not safer because of Leroy or the Police. They are safer often because of gentrification. There used to be A LOT more boarded up buildings. There used to be A LOT more run down houses being rented out to shady characters dealing drugs, etc (10 years ago = 3 drug houses with 30 feet of my house. Today all three drug dealers gone thanks to their landlords ability to profit from gentrification). Many of those landlords terminated their previous renters’ leases to sell to someone who now is more likely lives at their house, or to fix it up and rent it out to someone more community friendly (10 years ago = 3 drug houses with 30 feet of my house. Today all three drug dealers gone thanks to their landlords ability to profit from gentrification). There are A LOT LESS surface lots in our neighborhood than there used to be. There are A LOT more stores and restaurants than there used to be. The streets and alleys are a lot cleaner then they used to be (Thanks Alex Padro!). There is A LOT less dumping going on than there use to be, and it now gets cleaned up faster now (Thanks Alex Padro!). There are A LOT less abandoned cars on the streets than there used to be, and they get towed sooner (Thanks Alex Padro and Mayor Williams call center!). The trees lining our streets are now getting trimmed and planted regularly (Thanks Alex Padro!). There is a new recreation center, as well as a new skate park where there used to be a run down tennis court where people hung out drinking all the time (Thanks Alex Padro, at least for the skate park (which black folks said shouldn’t be built because black people wouldn’t use it, yet I now see black kids there all the time)). There are A LOT more white folks in the neighborhood than there used to be, who don’t follow the ‘No Sitching” rules, and regularly call the police with regard to everything, including kids dealing drugs in front of their house to quality of life issues (which Police used to laugh at, literally). There is a Shaw Main Streets organization which does so many things in Shaw, including a Shaw house Tour, Cherry Tree Planting, Job Skill Training, etc. (NEVER would have happened without Alex Padro!), There are A LOT more people in general walking the streets throughout the day and night, street lighting works more, burnt out lights get replaced faster than they used to, and so much more – which ALL contributes to a safer neighborhood.

    Things like the orange hat patrol (Red in Leroy’s case) are really temporary tools that apply to a small area at given a time. These types of Patrols are in most cases are not conducted by ANC Commissioners, so Leroy can play the same role even if he is not the ANC commissioner. However, he will not be able to spend the ANC’s money to buy tree boxes for his friends, and only his friend’s, if he is not the ANC chair. And he will be a lot less likely (I would hope) to phone elderly black women at night, yelling at them and calling them names like, and I quote, “House Nigger”, for siding with Alex Padro instead of Leroy on a given issue at an ANC meeting.

    The man may be doing some type of job, but he is not doing the job of ANC Chair. Our community, any community, would benefit from his replacement.


  13. Ok. To follow up KS’s book which says that everything Alex Padro (and I like Alex)has done changed the world but Leroy’s crime efforts and coordination with the police have done nothing. Never got crack houses sold those people moved in ont their own. And maybe its PC to use coded racial terms to explain why the neighborhood is bettter, but explicit racial statments made by little old black ladies will end the world but whatever.

    Ytram, Here is my point in addition to everything Omar has said which was right on the button…

    You have laid out everything that you feel is wrong with Leroy. He is rude, hurts peoples feelings and at the same time you say what Kevin WILL do. The question is WHAT HAS KEVIN EVER DONE? Where on his snazzy website, is the list of community organizations and Shaw groups he belongs to or has worked for? What local causes has he championed? There is no there there. And as Omar pointed out, with this new kinder gentler ANC what assurances do we have that he is going to be anything but polite?

  14. Dear Scotttac,

    A little professionalism will do a world of good for all of us. Kevin manages a law practice which probably requires a lot of professionalism and in his practice of criminal defense and civil litigation, he probably is familiar with and understands crime and how to resolve various types of disputes. An attorney’s first line of action is to explore the possibility of negotiation to avoid costly and time consuming trials. We need those types of problem solving skills in addressing crime in our neighborhood. Leroy, despite your devotion, is very skilled at creating problems, misunderstandings, division, and stoking the fires of unnecessary conflict.

    Anyone can pick up the phone and call the police. I do it all the time; and every now and then, I’m perfectly satisfied with the outcome.

    When housing prices started to climb and reached a significant point, local landlords, like the one who owns the property behind my house, finally did the math and realized that it was time to stop being absentee landlord, get the crack heads out, renovate and cash in on the gentrifiers.

    And I am offended anytime people, poor black or rich and white, assume that gentrifiers mean white gay or straight people and on that point make some subtle statement about the racial makeup of the neighborhood, old timers v. newbies. You and I and our block alone should dispel that myth; 5-6 non-white professionals have bought homes here in the last six years or so.

    And, to concur with KS, THAT is what has decreased criminal activity. More 311 and 911 callers, as opposed to the folks who just made friends with the crooks and didn’t want them to go to jail because they are acquainted with or related to them. When the tolerance level for crime is not zero, we make the neighborhood real cozy for the crooks and vandals.

    And, frankly, if anything, contrary to you and Omar, I think Mr Thorpe is too close to the criminal elements in the neighborhood. Read that as you will.

  15. Dear Anon,

    Don’t see your point. There’s nothing denigrating about the way the vid seems too have been edited. (Kudos to the editor). Everyone knows, as Ms Gordon so eloquently stated several times at the ECCA meeting, that our area has been historically majority black, though other tribes have also been a significant part of Shaw’s makeup. The vid doesn’t put anyone down. There’s in fact no one of any socio economic, racial, enthic or religious group depicted when he mentions “new arrivals” which suggests new residents could be any of us.

    And overall, the vid shows a rather decent mix of the various types of folks who call Shaw home.

    But thanks, for linking to Kevin’s campaign message. You probably just raised its Google rating so more people will see it — and get it; even though you clearly didn’t. I can probably even take a few weeks off from blogging, trying to defend his black ass. — oops! : )

    Didn’t someone say his vid was up on YouTube as well? I gotta check that out.

  16. … “I can probably even take a few weeks off from blogging, trying to defend his black ass. — oops! : ) “

    …while Kevin is out campaigning on the street, knocking on as many doors as he can, meeting residents, listening to their concerns, answering their questions, convincing them that he is the man for the job, showing them there is a better way than following Mr Thorpe around in circles — with his little red hat on.

    Who needs the ECCA and ANC 2C Commish to give him time to speak; the reason there is usually so little turnout at those meetings is because they are often so grating or ridiculous, when they aren’t working hard to try and focus on addressing the business of the community.

  17. Mari, I’ll come up with a post as soon as I have a moment for original thought… I do better piling on things right now. I’m due though, I’ll come up with something.

    As for the too much growth– agreed. High rises, bad. I wasn’t thinking about the buildings, etc changing that much. I was thinking more along the lines of getting abandoned storefronts, houses, lots, etc put back to productive use.

  18. Oy. With regards to the racial make-up. I’m with you a 100%. Lost on most of the older ECCA crowd (and the Post for that matter) is the diversity among gentrifies. What got me earlier was KS’s comment “There are A LOT more white folks in the neighborhood than there used to be, who don’t follow the ‘No Snitching” rules, and regularly call the police. “

    Right. Because you, me, Mari, Omar and all the other non-white people never call the police, and I sport my “Stop Snitching” hat to the office everyday. That is the same stupidity that goes on in rants at ECCA meetings. You say you agree with him, but KS explicitly did not say it was more “professional” people calling the police. Lets not give a pass to anyone’s stupidity.

    This is getting long. But I think it is interesting that in your defense of Kevin you use “probably” twice to describe his qualifications.

  19. “Brevity is the essence of wit” and this posting is losing its wits. Also it’s getting long and a few other things. So no more posts.
    Thanks for stopping by.

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