5D Meeting notes


Art Slater, the new chairperson of the Fifth District Police Citizen’s Advisory Council, asked me to pass the message below to you.


Jim Berry


—–Original Message—–

From: Talader

Sent: Monday, June 21, 2004 11:32 AM

To: JBerry;

Subject: 5D CAC Meeting

Mr. Berry,

This message concerns our upcoming 5D CAC meeting on Thursday.

Some of the members of the Bates Area Civic Association had questions about response times for calls for service and how calls are prioritized and dispatched, so I’ve asked Commander Greene to invite Capt. Crane to speak on the subject. Residents in several citizen groups wanted to learn more about how to get the most from the Mayor’s Call Center (727-1000), hence Todd Douglas has agreed to speak at the 5D CAC. The Commander would like citizens to take a more in-depth look at police operations through a Citizens Academy. Can you share the following announcement with your e-mail group?

Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council Monthly Meeting

Residents in the Fifth District are cordially invited to attend the Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council (5D CAC) Meeting on Thursday, June 24, 2004 at the Home for the Aged, 2601 18th St, NE. at 7:00 PM

Invited speakers include:

Capt. James Crane, Director, MPDC Communications Division

Todd Douglas, Ward 5 Neighborhood Services Coordinator/Core Team

MPD Citizens Police Academy Representative

The purpose of the 5D CAC is to enable citizens to assist in and make less hazardous the task of reducing crime and promoting public safety; and to function in an advisory capacity to the Fifth District Commander. As citizens we work with the Commander to find 5th District-wide solutions to increase public safety, develop programs for youth and recognize those who provide outstanding service to citizens, among other activities.

All residents who live in the Fifth District are welcome and encouraged to attend. Membership dues are $4.


Fifth District Citizens Advisory Council

Art Slater, Chair

Regina James, Vice-Chair

John Washington, Treasurer

Tom Usselman, Corresponding Secretary

Frances Penn, Recording Secretary

Neighbors coming together

Well the weekend chat among those of us on our side of the street was to call in today about the lights being out in the alley. Apparently it may work as when I called it at 202 727 1000 number the guy seemed to indicate that it has been called in already and someone is coming out.

Apparently, that’s how we work. We get together and harass the city enmasse. That’s sort of how we got the alley repaved. That or it was sheer luck.

The other plan seems to be aimed at the trees. That’s when folks start to seem to feel bad. Problem is the alley side trees are out of hand. The tree in S’s yard is dead and leaning on the cable wires. When that thing goes it’s taking everyone’s phone and cable with it, along with some bricks on the house on the opposite side of the alley. The tree in M’s yard is blocking someone’s afternoon sun. The tree a few doors down is blocking the alley light. Further down the alley another tree is growing toward the window of another’s house. We all know the city won’t do squat about the trees because they are on private property. So that will leave the owners to deal with the trees. Cutting part of a tree ain’t cheap. I could of bought a new Trek bike for the amount I paid to have part of my neighbor’s tree cut. The complainers tend to be newer residents like me. The tree owners tend to be poorer and older residents. Notably, almost every tree has been cut down on our side of the alley. One of the first things I did was get rid of the weed trees in my yard.

Anyway. Did my part. Called the city. Now waiting and seeing.

PSA 501 tonight


I found out yesterday from Lt. Mitchell that a community meeting for

residents of Police Service Area 501 will be held on Thursday, June 17,

2004, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., at Saint Paul’s College, 3015 4th

Street, N.E.

Hope to see you there!


Jim Berry


Crime Stats on Crack

It happened while I was on Zip Reality looking up house prices for places near where I work and I happened to look at the crime stats listed for the Aldephi, MD area. In the 200s with 100 being the national average. Riverdale, MD is 138. For fun I looked up a house in Friendship Heights, DC 20015 and the crime number was 458! Friendship Heights! So I’m thinking there is something wrong. So I go to, I’m guessing Georgetown, 39th Pl, 407! Now I have to find my hood in this bizzaro world of crime stats, total crime number 373.


Gentrification DC

Yes, I must have a bug in my bonnet. That and work has slowed down here.

Last year, well October 2003 I attended the very crowded American Cities discussion on gentrification at the City Museum. I have notes I don’t remember if I entered them into this blog. If I didn’t (too lazy to search) well here it is.

Jim Abdo, president of Abdo Development began with his side of the story. He talked about historical buildings and that he, unlike some of the other developers, only rehabbed abandoned buildings. No one got kicked out.

His take points out something that I haven’t touch upon in my gentrification rants, historical or historically interesting buildings. The neighborhoods in question, Columbia Heights, Shaw, LeDroit Park and Capitol Hill have some pretty neat buildings. Sadly it is only the middle & upper classes that can keep the buildings with the historical details up. It is good if you score a house that still has the pocket doors, the original stained glass, the long windows, the original crown molding, the wood floors, the carved newel posts, the detailed iron fences and stair railings, oh I could go on. When the middle classes fled the city and these houses with so much detail were rented out or sold to those with less some of those details got lost to the practical. Long tall windows are expensive to replace so they got replaced by cheaper squat ones. Pocket doors removed or walled up. As the neighborhood got rougher it just probably didn’t make sense to invest that much into the property. So gentrification is saving some housing provided the rehabbers have an appreciation for history.

Next on the panel was Maria Maldonado from CASA Maryland. She talked about what gentrification was, the replacement and displacement of one neighborhood with another. She talked about immigrant families that have been there for over 18 years and are being forced out due to market conditions. She also mentioned a horrible incident where 20 lawyers descended on one building scaring the tenants. The odd thing, she mentioned was that people come for the diversity but it is the economic power of the incoming group that forces out the diversity.

The last fellow I have notes for (I left before it all ended) was from Arlington and talking about affordable housing.

Upcoming 5C meetings





TELEPHONE: (202) 832-1965/1966



Monthly Meeting

Invited guests include representatives from the following


Washington Hospital Center

Catholic University of America

United States Postal Service

Where: Metropolitan Wesley

AME Zion Church

1712 North Capitol Street, N.W.

When: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.


Monthly Forum

Where: Saint Paul’s College

3015 4th Street, N.E.

When: Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

Who cares about the starving artists

Brief conversation with the roommate. We were talking about gentrification and she did feel bad about people who couldn’t afford to live in the city. As an example of the group that couldn’t afford housing she mentioned the starving artists. I jumped on her, forget the starving artists, what about the single mom with 3 kids?

I’m of the p.o.v. that the starving artists, young workers and students from middle class backgrounds who speak out about how bad gentrification is and against those of us buying houses and upping the market, are just as much to blame. The single mother of three, or the working class family they don’t add to the tide of gentrification, until they sell and get the hell outta Dodge (ie move to PG County). It’s the near cluelessness of what role the starving artist/ punk kids/ whatevers play in the gentrification. They are canaries in the mine.

Then there is the other side. Those of us who bought and feel kinda bad about the gentrification but that feeling kinda goes away when we think about the equity in the house. Or it instantly goes away when some ‘bama neighbors start shooting off bottle rockets near midnight or honking the horn at 3AM or trashing the street then it’s evict ’em all, & let G-d sort ’em out.

Chatted with my neighbor. He informed me that the garden style apartments between P & Q Sts along 7th Street NW. It’s where Bettye, the friendly Washington Post Express person who passes out the paper at the R St side of the Shaw metro, lives. She and her neighbors are going to lose their home. Why? Well the property is privately owned and the owner is not renewing the Section 8 contract. His own feelings are mixed, as are mine. We like Bettye. The apartments are fine and don’t seem to be trouble and the property seems clean. However we know that it would be a fruitless battle to get a private owner to NOT tear down the apartments to build a luxury high-rise/multistory and make millions of dollars. Of course same neighbor waved his hand over the Asbury Dwellings at 7th and Rhode Island and said, “They should do something with this..” I replied, “Its housing for old people.” Don’t mess with the old people.

We want the neighborhood to get better. We know that the “better” will be borne on the backs of the poor. We just hope that many will be able to survive the storm.

Good links

Gentrification & Guilt

How to stave off gentrification guilt (warning strong language!)

Gentrification: Artists and Yuppies Working Together


Race and Community (touchy-feely but in the end good)

Cheap ass people

I was annoyed once, sometime ago, when the former owner of my house, upon seeing my improvements regretted selling the house. Well MoFo you had the house for a good long while and did jack shyte before you decided to sell. Hate to break it to you but all these improvements cost money, money you weren’t willing to shell out ’cause you didn’t live here and it was a Section 8 rental.

There are a few cheap ass landlords on my block. There are the people who own the house across from me where the cabinets fell off the wall because they hired crackheads to do the work. Then there is the issue of DM’s house where I had to deal with the winter of busting pipes ’cause I was downhill from her house, and guess where water flows? I think the pipes busted 3x that Winter. Worst yet is the house owned by a lawyer who would not replace a carpet infested with dust mites. The result was the renter’s kid breaking out and having to go to the hospital often and terrible scarring.

Around the cheap ass landlords’ rentals are homeowners and market renters. People improving the houses, keeping up appearences with the yards, and what not. So once in a while we hear the odd pie in the sky plans of the ghetto landlords upon seeing that their crap property is in the middle of a blockwide boom. I say ‘pie in the sky’ because it is just talk because they are to friggin cheap to do what ever they plan right. They’ll hire crackheads and make it look sad. And for what? They are still addicted to Section 8 money and you know they are not going to shell out money for Section 8 renters. And since market rate renters have choices, those renters would chose to move once the ghetto landlords start being ghetto.

House P-rn

Note: The title was changed as it kept attracting questionable searches. 6/17/08

Not Penthouse but This Old House.
Stuff that excites, titillates, but has no resemblance to your reality. This is house porn or decorator porn. Face it you don’t have the money, time, or skill (in my case a lack of skill and money) to get the same look that you saw on HGTV.

Ah, HGTV. The good reason I don’t have cable. When I am in a hotel or visiting a place with cable I am glued to HGTV. It is the Playboy channel for me. My mother, the worst homemaker in the world (but I love her anyways) did not really understand this whole business of wanting to go through the trouble of painting and pasting and building just to change the “look” of a room.

I have a whole bunch of decorating DIY magazines littering the house, some stuffed under my bed so I can go to sleep with house fantasies in my head. I need to weed my house of these things ’cause the truth with house porn, as with most porn, it ain’t gonna happen. I am not putting on addition anytime soon. The spiral stair idea is not right for my house. Open space, well I’m going to hire people to do that and I’ll need the $$$$$. Kitchen, done, can’t do no more. Bathroom, see open space. Can’t even do some of the garden ideas due to lack of space and sun.

Like most porn, it just leaves you frustrated.

Georgetown DMV rocks

In and out in about an hour. Take the bus as they don’t validate the parking there but the time you save over the main DMV office is amazing. I was told to go there by a few folks from the monthly gawd awfully boring community meeting. Oh and by the way, the Georgetown office is small. Tiny.

Afterwards I pondered serval things: Shopping…. with what money? Going back to work, umm 1-2 hours to get from Georgetown to BFE, MD for 3 hours of work….and that’s before any lunch. Nope. Lunch! Eating is a good idea considering the only thing in yur tummy is a small bowl of branny bran bran. So after lunch it is 12:35 Still work 3 hours ’cause after a certain time there is no one around and there is no point.