News from other blogs or Friday Misc.

Over in Bloomingdale The Yoga District is having a mommy & me, but with a more inclusive title of Family Yoga and Community Playtime.

The Great Scott Roberts also mentioned some tasty info he got from a Bloomingdale restaurant hopefully to come at NJ & R. According to WashBiz Journal, Beau Thai, a carry out, is due to open in March, hopefully, maybe, fingers crossed.
Speaking of restaurants on R, anyone know what’s going on with 6th and R for the proposed Toque Cafe? I’ve noticed a change of windows and the application of paper over the windows, so I hope there is something good going on behind the paper.

Over here in the TC, the BACA blog tells that there will be a grand opening of the Eckstine and Ellington Theatre at the Dorothy I Height Community Academy Public Charter Schools (CAPCS)school, also known as Armstrong, this weekend.
have a great weekend y’all.

Change in the corner of my eye

Last night I spent some quality time with the Help, the Help’s landlord, the landlords’ dogs, and another guest in Beltsville. The Help made some comment about the drug dealers on my corner, to which I responded that the dealers have cut back their hours and days of operation and laid off staff, and are hardly there [pause & sigh]”it’s the economy.” I got a chuckle from that. The friendly neighborhood drug dealers are less of a problem then in years past and that’s a change for the better, which only Spring can tell. Sadly they have been replaced by bored violent teens picking fights and robbing adults. Not sure which is worse.
I measure change by the situation I came into when I arrived on my block nearly 9 years ago. Drug dealers were at the corner or near the corner day, night, weekends, weekday, hot days, or cold weather, they were there. The Giant on O St was the best grocery option. There were quickie marts and liquor stores selling 40oz every 2 blocks and no decent wine.
But lately I have sensed another change, that is to come, and I see it out of the corner of my eye. Walking home I saw the Josephine (the recently built condos on Rhode Island Ave) off the side, in the background a tad, and I sensed a greater density has been added to my low density neighborhood. A density that the Monique, on the same block but on R St didn’t add on its own, but the two together seems to signal a change. Also, when peered at from the corner of my eye, off in the background the new Waltha Daniels/Shaw Library getting built. Now provided no bullets mar the shatterproof glass (that’s what I hear these modern architects are using for glass boxes these days) in the 1st 6 months, that will definitely signal a change provided that we see through the glass, a diverse library patronage that reflects the diversity of the neighborhood.
And the hope of change for the better is still alive and well. There is some excitement about a proposed bar near the Yoga District, and the SMD ANC/ businessman Stu Davenport is aware and seems positive. This is something new to think about while some still remain hopeful about Baraki (1st and T) and wonder what’s going with the old Bates Market, which seems to be chugging along. And speaking with the BAANC blog editor and Ray ‘o’ Sunshine, it seems I should keep an eye out this year for the O Street Market.

Charter Schools

I caught a ride with a neighbor/friend back home after running into her and her kids. We got onto the topic of Pre-K schools and a day-care co-opy thing at Kennedy Playground. Apparently, if you are going to raise kids in this city you gotta get plugged into the tribe of parents that live in your area. I was vaguely aware of some program at the Kennedy Rec center that some of the little (2-5 yrs)kids were involved in. Involvement requires one parent with a flexible schedule to volunteer and the great thing is the city (thank you city) provides a teacher or staff person.
Well someone will be graduating from the Rec Center co-op to 4 Pre-K, and so we started talking about schools. Yu Ying was mentioned and I said I knew a kid at Yu Ying, and mentioned how happy the parents of said kid seemed to be with the program. However, my ride’s concern was how would the language be re-enforced and wondered if Spanish would be a more useful language. So I mentioned another school that another kid (I know a few in the under 5 crowd) but wasn’t sure if the school had an actual Spanish language program. So I said I’d check with a parent that I figured would know.
Well I checked and I got a whole list of recommended charter schools and one out of boundary DCPS school. I do not have that list in front of me, but I do remember the name of the DCPS school, John Tyler, or as I found Tyler Elementary. They have a Spanish language program. For out of boundary DCPS there is only one lottery, good luck with that. Oh, and Oyster has a great program but you’d have a better chance at the mega millions lotto than that lottery.
I’ll take everyone’s word for it that the lottery system is frazzling and you hold your breath until your kid is in one of the schools of your choosing. As far as I know, the parents I know, who do the lottery, do manage to get their munchkins into a satisfactory school.

Death, taxes and the assessment cap

Once again I was poking around seeing what my assessed value was, not that it matters. Those of us who bought our homes before houses were too expensive, have these lovely golden handcuffs in the combo dish of the Assessment Cap Credit, and the Homestead Deduction. That means that people who have been in their homes a long time (and bothered to get the homestead deduction) pay a couple or several hundred dollars a year in property taxes, as opposed to newer folks who pay a thousand to several thousands a year. I say the combo of those tax credits are golden handcuffs because the low tax, is a great incentive to not move. It is a good program, in that it encourages neighborhood stability. It allows long term owners to stay in their homes despite the rise in home prices around them. Provided they bothered to get the homestead deduction in the first place. There are neighbors who I know are living in their homes but don’t have the homestead deduction and are paying the full price in taxes and aren’t protected by the 10% cap.
I was poking around on the Tax Office’s real estate assessment database because a few months back I got a visit (wasn’t home so I called him) from the tax assessor who wanted to know if I made changes. I did, but it seems none of them really matter tax wise. Curiously, being what it is I checked out the assessments of other properties in the area. What owners are taxed at varies, depending on if they are residents or landlords, when they bought, if they are senior citizens or low income, etc. But then I’d see an exceptionally low taxable assessment value in the 10K-20K range, for a small number of owners who bought in the aughts. Not complaining, just observing.
What I will complain about are the dead people paying low property taxes. Mainly because said dead persons are getting the Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction, which means they are paying super low taxes, which is fine if you’re old and typically on a fixed income. However, grammy dies and the kids continue to pay the low tax. This is fine for the first couple of years after a death because of probate and clearing up the estate, which I understand is no easy task. However after say 3 years, the new owners (widow/widower or kids) need to be listed and taxed appropriately. Flipping around on the database there are still a few dead people in the hood paying taxes, according to the Social Security Death Index, which the Office of Tax and Revenue doesn’t seem to bother to check.

No I will not join you on Facebook

It isn’t you.
It’s me.
And I’m not joining Facebook or getting a MySpace account and to maintain a level of privacy (and the right to change my mind a million times without any grief) I ain’t twittering.
The blogs are enough.
What I really want to do is be able to do before the computer and the Internet, curl up and get completely lost in a good book. Ocassionally I’ve been able to find a ‘can’t put it down’ book, but the time for it, seems to be gone. I’m afraid if I even consent to one more time suck, the ability to enjoy and feel the great pleasure of a good book will be lost.

Reminder- Martin’s Fundaraiser TONIGHT

I don’t know about you but federal holidays and snow days screw up the schedule I keep in my head. So this is a reminder for me (and you too), that tonight is the fundraiser for neighborhood activist dude, Martin Moulton, who has been legally hounded by neighborhood activist/tyrant LeRoy Thorpe. Anyway, Longview Gallery from 6-8, bring your checkbooks.

1883 Bicycle mishap

While looking for something I came across the following in the “personal” section of the classified page of a newspaper:

“The party who drove a buggy into a bicycle on the 14th-st road yesterday will please send his address to this office. By doing so he will learn of what is thought of one who is not man enough to stop to see the extent of the injuries inflicted by his unmanly conduct.”

— “Display Ad 3 — No Title. ” The Washington Post (1877-1922) 2 May 1883 ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Washington Post (1877 – 1993), ProQuest. Web. 14 Jan. 2010.

Don’t need a car to be a jerk.


I’m thinking about lunch, and my lunch buddy just cancelled on me. We were going to check out one of the nearby places for Restaurant Week. It’s cold and so I’m going to eat at the desk.
Anyway food got me wondering about Waggamama. The signs are still up on the windows on 7th Street, but so far no change. Checked the website and it appears they will open Septemeber 2010.

Women, the past and home ownership

As I’ve stated before I’m not too keen on architectural history, in that I just don’t have an interest in it. However, I do have an interest in property transfers and its history, as that tends to relate to personal wealth.
Today, I’ll be covering myself in red rot from old volumes regarding, some DC properties in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are published books (Lusk real estate assessment directories, published by Rufus Lusk & Sons) listing the owner of the property. I noticed, running my eyes down the list of owners, I saw several repeats for a series of houses right next to or nearby each other. So you’d have say a Ruppert or a Richardson owning 4 or 5 houses on a block. And not all owners were male. Most were male, but not all.
Now going back to the 1900 census project, so far (I’m still cleaning up data) of the 1101 households, 892 rent. That is a huge chunk. 78 are owners with a mortgage, and 104 own their homes free and clear. Of the homeowners, 45 are women. Now, it would be correct to say that in 1900, not many women owned their own home. It would be also correct to say not many men owned their own homes either, since most rental heads were male.
Though not as popular as the career of laundress there were about 9 landladies and 1 female capitalist. Yes, ladies and gents, someone said their occupation was that of a capitalist. So in this turn of the century world there were women involved in the real estate game, as owners or property managers (landlady). Not many, but 1900 wasn’t 2000 where credit was extended to anyone who could breathe for a home loan.

Well I guess that was a robbery

Kids hold on to your iWhatevers.
I ran into one of my neighbors in the metro and we decided to walk and chat. Now it being winter, my head (including ears) were bundled up so I concentrated on listening to my neighbor. However, I did hear some ruckus behind me, but didn’t see anything as we headed to the escalators. Then this guy, bald black male, average height and build wearing a very new looking red and white jacket (primarily white with a bold red design) ran by us very quickly and hustled up the escalator. I didn’t put two and two together until a white guy came running up about 10 to 15 seconds later. The red and white jacket guy stole his iPhone.