With Lawyers and Money All Things are Possible

I’m going through zoning cases at the place they pay me and I noticed something funny. Well I notice a lot of odd, “huh?” stuff. For example, I’m trying to figure out what happened to the Salvation Army Headquarters that was supposed to be at the spot where 555 Massachusetts sits now. Around 1990 there was supposed to be a non-profit with shelter (Zoning Commission 90-8M/88-23C). But instead there is something else. Maybe not enough lawyers and money.
Another project was the 7th Street Penn Quarter area with the older facades and the modern high rise behind it. I have read/heard complaints about how the whole facade thing is bad and it’s bad for historic preservation. Well looking at the papers, the Historic Preservation people signed off on the project. Yes, there is a signature and everything. Were they browbeaten by the developer’s lawyers?
And there are other projects, other PUDs, where I’ll admit, I don’t have all the information. But I look at what the paperwork says, remember what the location looks like now and sometimes things don’t match up.

The windows of the Metro train have a wonderful reflective quality

This is a “it’s my blog and I’ll post what I want” post. This week I saw CCAG (Cute Commie A* Guy) on the metro. I have not seen for the longest because my commute changed and even with my old commute seeing him was more miss than hit. But there he was, opposite the door from me in all his hunky dweebie handsome Clark Kent glassy geekiness. OMG he’s so handsome I could barely look at him directly, lest my eyes be blinded.
Thank goodness the windows in the train reflected just enough to save my already damaged eyes.
I’m okay at a distance as not to be repelled by his free-market hatin’, pro-socialist, workers of the world unite ways. If only all the men I’m ideologically opposed to were that dreamy, what a beautiful world it would be.

*A is not for a-hole, but a neutral adjective that would too specifically describe him. Older friends will know about CCAG.


Robert Taylor Area 13
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I have a hard time wrapping my head around some aspects of the Robert Taylor Homes area in Southside Chicago. One being space. Pictured is one of several empty lots. This is a huge lot. It could eat up 3, maybe 4 Shaw blocks. If this thing were in Shaw, It’d be a dog park by now, it is so, so big.
Maybe that’s another thing I noticed about Chicago, space. All that space, even in other neighborhoods. Chicago has a lot of parks. Open wide spaces, maybe a ball field thrown in for good measure. A city so spacious it includes dull boring un-fabulous to downright tacky middle class neighborhoods that could be a suburb, but no, you’re still in the city limits.
Space is at such a premium around the District that I was struck by the wealth of space in some of the most poverty stricken areas of Chicago.

Expecting More with Neighborhoods

Ok, I’m done with Sudhir Venkatesh’s “Off the Books” and there is one thing (among many) that is a subject that I found interesting, the neighborhood as a source of income. In the underground economy of his book residents are making side income by making meals, hosting gambling parties, selling products in the park, shade tree auto repair, and the such. With “Tally’s Corner”, I got the hint that neighborhood income was preferable so a man could keep an eye on things at home. Anyway, I think back to one or two neighborhood meetings that I have attended where someone (a resident oldtimer) expressed a desire for the community/ neighborhood to provide jobs or employment or income for residents.
Maybe that’s expecting too much of the neighborhood if it is to produce jobs. DC isn’t an industrial town. Shaw, is mainly a residential area with some commercial corridors (U St, 14th St, and a bit of 9th St). Besides, in successful neighborhoods residents get their wealth from other parts of the city and the region. Of the self-employed persons I know in the neighborhood, a job/ client in the neighborhood is nice, but not necessary. Others who have decent jobs work elsewhere. They work downtown, in Dupont, out in NoVa or Maryland. Not since college have I worked in the same immediate area as my work (TA, work-study in the library, etc), so as an adult I lived close of enough for a reasonable commute but not close enough to walk. I never expected or demanded that the job be that close to the house. Come to think of it I like a certain distance to help with the work/life balance.
As far as work goes the neighborhood does provide something. It provides good transportation, or more specifically RELIABLE transportation, so I can get to work on time. It is close enough so the commute is reasonable.

Chi-town gentrification tour- surface impressions

Chicago, like New York, but without the pesky New Yorkers and surrounded by Midwest farmland. I took a bunch of pictures, and I need to download them and label them properly. Then again 1/2 of them may be crap and only worth a delete button.
This weekend I did the Robert Taylor tour. We drove down to south Chicago, after getting bagels in Sokie.
Just my first impressions, there’s a lot of empty land round the former Robert Taylor Homes. I’m trying to imagine them with big ol’ apartment buildings on them, but all I see are acres of empty land and thinking, urban agriculture. It didn’t help that I also so plenty of community gardens and seethed with envy. Also Chicago, much bigger than DC and with tons more space. When I was reading about the Robert Taylor Homes in Sudir Venkatesh’s books I imagined something more compact, like Sursum Corda.
My guide and driver was also from Florida, so we kept comparing it to depressing parts of Orlando. There was enough barren open spaces, storefront churches, run down looking buildings that if you knocked off most of the 2nd and 3rd floors, you’d have Orlando.
Well after taking a few pictures, wandering over to the University of Chicago area and hitting a neat little farmer’s market attached to a nice community garden you could walk through, we drove to Gary, IN, for more looks at depressing areas.
Once I ID most of the pictures and locate the SD card reader, I’ll post more.

BAA Picnic

| THE |
| Regular Yearly Picnic |
| of the |
| Blagden Alley |
| and |
| Naylor Court |
| Peoples |
| |
| Saturday, August 23, 2007 |
| Historical, Brick-Paved |
| Naylor Court |
| 6:00pm-9:00pm |
| (See map in newsletter) |
| |

Frivolity, or an approximation.
Door Prizes (lots!).
Good weather.
Real people (us!).

The announcement with more details is at




(OK. It’s the same flyer as last year, with a minor updates.)

Please note: We do need a fedw more tables and can always use chairs.
If you can help, please do.

I’ve just called the po-po on your bad a$$ed chillun

Thank you other person who also reported the little heathen rock throwers. I’ll guess you may also be the adult who yelled at them, and they ignored you. Hopefully the the police will grab them, throw them in juvie and carefully examine their family home life. Seriously, I dislike the state invading the private life of the family, but with rights come responsibilities and somebody isn’t being responsible.
If these are the same little bastards that caused over $2000 worth of damage on my block earlier this month, and they are simply continuing on their reign of destruction, I have no sympathy for them. I’ve heard their mother isn’t particularly responsible, claiming that it couldn’t have been her babies that engaged in some other mischief on another block. Well right now they are elementary/middle school aged, and if they keep going on the same path, lady you’re going to be crying for your babies when they get carted off to prison or the funeral parlor. I mean it’s 9:30 PM, at night. Why aren’t your pint sized terrors at home?
Oh and to anyone on 3rd Street or Bates with a broken/ chipped/ cracked car window, it was the kids, not the crackheads.

Child labor

Something has been bugging me about the whole Summer school jobs program, and I can’t put my finger on it.
When I was in high school (over twenty years ago) I remember the people of Bob Evans coming to my high school and recruiting for wait and kitchen staff. I remember applying and being disappointed when my friend Michael got a job and I didn’t. That did get me applying to other jobs and I got my first job working at Winn-Dixie. There were labor laws out there regulating hours so there wouldn’t be a conflict with school. I held that job from the time I was a junior in high school till I was almost a junior in college.
My younger cousins in Laurel, MD were on a similar track, working for national food chains (you want fries with that?) in their junior and senior years in high school.
So I’m wondering, don’t DC high school kids get jobs for the rest of the year? I understand that in Summer there is this ability to work more than 10 hours a week, and students are available during business hours. But what’s going on in DC that discourages kids from working the rest of the year?
I got a lot out of my year round high school job. I learned about balancing school, work and home. I experienced taxes being taken out of my paycheck. I learned how to be a good cashier and offer decent customer service. I got job experience that helped with later, more ‘professional’ grown-up jobs. And I got about $60-$70 a week.
So really are kids in DC not working the rest of the year? A part-time job keeps you out of trouble, gets a few dollars in your pockets, and allows you to excerise work habits on a regular basis.

Dc Library Lit Group

The D.C. Public Library and the literacy advocacy group D.C. LEARNs will host our 5th Annual Adult Literacy Volunteer Fair on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW in the Great Hall (Main Lobby). The event will feature representatives from numerous literary organizations in the city, who will counsel prospective volunteers on the programs, training and opportunities available, whether it’s helping adults learn to read, earn a GED or grasp the basics of English as a second language. For more information and to RSVP, call Ben Merrion at 202-727-2431 or e-mail benjamin.merrion@dc.gov by September 8th.