Monday Miscellany

On the 22nd I and the Help went to Longview’s gallery opening. SPACE! would be the new theme for this place. The previous 9th St version was a nice little store front, but it was too small for events. This new puppy is huge. Huge I say. They should be able to host other events that bring in over 100 people, as opposed to the 20 in the old location. Regarding the art, the Help and I pondered “Making Up Jesus,” and some photo-realist paintings. Also while there I learned a valuable lesson about grabbing the caterer’s wait staff and getting food. The catered bites were wonderful (except the curry pear soup).

Let me get this one out of the way, shootings. Over the past week there have been a couple of shootings in the places where I walk and I have no idea what’s up with that. From this regarding 8th & R (R St exit for Shaw metro):

On Oct 23, 2009, at 9:58 PM, Kucik, George (MPD) wrote:
There were gunshots fired tonight but nobody was hit. Despite uniformed officers in the area the suspect escaped. In the area of 5th and O, 7th and O and 8th and R I have uniformed officers and about 20 tactical officers king. They have been in the areas for the past 2 nights and are there tonight. In the past 2 days they have
made more than 20 arrests to include 4 arrests for subjects carrying guns. We will continue to flood the areas.

And then last weeks shooting, around 7th and N (?), and 8th and S.

Scott Montgomery is having an auction today. Check it out at

Bread for the City’s Food for All thing got rained out. But hey read about there great gleaning program with broccoli.

Lastly my cousin, who will be helping me with the on again, off again census of Truxton 1900-1930 (or 1940 depending) project has an appeal.

GLN is competing for a $10k grant! Please support us! All we request is a minute of your time to vote for us and help us win $10k! Our scheduling costs have doubled and we need this grant to be able to offer classes in the Spring.

Click below and vote for us today to win the first sprint! (You have to create an account and sign in with your e-mail, but don’t worry, nobody will spam you. Ideablob requires that you create an account to make sure that only ‘real people’ are participating in the contest, and that there are no frauds). Help us reach the finals and remember to vote for us again next week when it really counts!

More on the Bundy Parking thing

Well good news, it appears that the Safe Shores folks won’t need the whole lot, read from the Friends of Bundy:

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

The District Department of Real Estate Services (formerly the Office of Property Management) has reviewed the parking requirements for the District’s Child Advocacy Center coordinated by Safe Shores at the Bundy School.*

With approximately 17 spaces available on the school lot, the site will require an additional 42 spaces in the back lot. This should leave approximately 8,800 square feet of space available for other use. [emphasis added]

As a reminder, the back lot is owned by the Federal government. The District cannot proceed with any plans (parking or otherwise) until after the land transfer is complete and funding is identified.

*The Safe Shores project is part of the District’s continuing effort to become a model jurisdiction by expanding the service capacity for children who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. Construction will be complete in November 2009. Subsequently, staff from the US Attorney’s Office, Office of the Attorney General, Metropolitan Police Department, Child and Family Services and the non-profit Safe Shores will move in and begin operations.

Robin-Eve Jasper, Director
DC Department of Real Estate Services
2000 14th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20009


Dear Friends,

This August 7, 2009 announcement from the DC Department of Real Estate Services (DRES), formerly the Office of Property Management (OPM), suggests that there will be ample space left on the vacant lot at Bundy for use as a dog park (see url above).

According to DC’s Dog Park Regulations (Section 733.1 under Dog Parks: Site Guidelines and Specification), “a dog park shall be no less than five thousand square feet (5,000 sq ft) in area where feasible.” Hence, the remaining space on the vacant lot at Bundy — not used by parking for future Bundy School tenants — would still meet the minimum requirements for establishing a dog park.

We will continue our efforts to reach out to neighbors and dog owners in Wards 2, 5 and 6 so that we will be able to demonstrate the impressive support we have for a dog park when DPR begins to process our formal application.

Thank you for your support. Hope to see you on Aug. 21 for Jazz on the Green at Bundy Park with the DC Choro Ensemble.

Payam Bakhaje

Friends of Bundy Park

Random Lunchtime babbling on Bundy Park

A couple of weeks ago I signed a petition in favor for a dog park at Bundy. I don’t own a dog and have no plans to own one in the immediate future. However I do benefit from having a neighborhood with responsible owners with well trained dogs, like I benefit from living on a block dominated by homeowners. It’s not my house or my dog, but the actions that the homeowners and dog owners take, or have incentives to do, that improve the neighborhood and improve my quality of life here.
I will also note that I don’t live in Ward 2 where the proposed parking lot/field is. I’m over in Ward 5, so my opinion doesn’t matter or count. But I have an opinion and Ward 5 owners over in the Truxton area would more than likely use it, and it is very unfortunate that our voices won’t count.
One could say it is a children vs dogs, white vs black, adults vs children, greenspace vs pave the world, or a slew of other A vs B. For me ‘A’ is comprised of those residents who wake up within comfortable walking distance (everyone has a different comfort level) from the parcel of land in question. This includes white residents, black residents, Latino residents, Asian residents, multi-racial residents, grandmas on fixed incomes whose companions are little yippie dogs, single women who got dogs for security, kids that pestered their parents to get a dog, other people with dogs and their friends who may not have dogs, but like dogs. What I have noticed with the increase of having neighbors with dogs is there are people walking around in the morning when I go to work. Those people are more eyes on the street adding to my personal safety. There are people walking around in the evening when I run errands. There are neighbors, people I’ve met at BACA meetings or other gatherings, who are out, available for a quick word, a wave hello because they have to walk the dog. More people on the street encourage more people to get out and walk, dog or no, which improves the health of the resident community.
For a while my dog owning neighbors would walk their dogs in the alley, which in turn, discouraged drug stashing and other negatives that were problems.
I consider a convenient location as something that you can walk to at a regular pace in 10 minutes, 15 maybe. The Shaw dog park is past my 10 minute range and I walk fast, so a convenient location is Bundy.
Another point, Shaw as a whole has a lot, a lot of social service organizations of various sizes that do a lot of great work from providing day care for children of families with AID/HIV, homeless services, counseling, food distribution, poverty advocacy, you name it, it comes with the diversity of the neighborhood. One would hope that new social services moving to the area would become good neighbors. Unfortunately with the sensitivity of the function of Safe Shores, I can see how it could develop into a fortress to keep out the community in order to maintain privacy and security. That sort of thing would not make the surrounding area safer or secure. Besides asking for variances and other permissions, I don’t foresee much future interaction with the surrounding community. I can foresee walking by a darkened parking lot at night, making that corridor of P Street scary and dangerous.
The other thing is does Safe Shores really need 100 parking spaces? Since the organization’s parking space would come from government owned land that we believed slated for community (and one hope ‘community’ in this sense means nearby residents) use, the community should question the need for the number of spaces. Does it need 25 spaces? 30? and why. This isn’t Largo, MD or other parts of suburban Maryland where parking is a given. This is central, Old City DC, and free parking isn’t a guaranteed right. Nor should it be automatically given no questions asked to non-profits and other organizations no matter how nobel the mission. Safe Shores will not be the last social service locating to the area if history is a guage. I understand counsellors and parents coming from other wards will need parking, but how much?

Ewwww Poor People

That’s the title I gave one letter I got sometime back from someone asking about the area and expressing concern about one of Shaw’s many affordable/ subsidized housing blocs. I’d like to think that I gently addressed the writer’s concerns and pointed out that the affordable housing was one of the things that maintained the diversity of the Shaw neighborhood that makes it vibrant and unique. I know I didn’t say that diversity is sometimes a pain in the a$$, though that’s true too.
I was reminded of that letter at a blogger breakfast hosted by Bread For The City yesterday. I, Mr. ReNewShaw, and a few others got a tour of the 7th Street office. Let me throw out a few things that I remember from the talk, about 1/2 of the 7th St B4tC’s clients come from the 20001 zip code, and grand majority come from NW DC. The offices are crowded, there isn’t much space for the privacy that is needed, their legal offices handle Social Security, Medicare/caid (can’t remember), landlord/tenant court issues, and they need more space for a waiting area that can handle families. They are so hurting for space that the room where we were to have the breakfast was taken over by other folks in the few minutes the room was left empty, causing our group to move to a smaller adjoining office.
In the discussion after the tour we talked about what relationships could be built between B4tC, bloggers and the greater community and gentrification. Shaw is diverse, with race, orientation, age, nationality, background, and income and that is the thing that makes it interesting. And yes, the diversity can be too interesting and annoying. But to be diverse and remain diverse, the organizations and options for all persons along the economic spectrum need to be there.

How quick can you grant write?

May 1st is the deadline for the DC Community Heritage Project grant. Taking a look at past recipients of the $2000 or less, grants, there is a wide range, from community arts groups, garden clubs, civic associations, and main streets. The kind of humanities projects the Humanities Council is looking to provide grants for are:

Book Discussion
Curriculum Development
Discussion Guide
Film Discussion
Film/Video Production
Historical Dramatization
Oral Histories/Interviews
Panel Discussion
Historic Preservation guides
Radio Production
Scholarly Editing/Publishing
Site Interpretation/Tour
Teacher’s Institute/Seminar


This morning I had in mind to write one thing but read in today’s Washington Post “D.C.’s Past Is Prologue,” about the Historical Society of Washington D.C. over on Mt. Vernon Sq. Reading the article I’m a bit concerned about the paragraph:

Thomas said he envisions a place where more records could be archived, such as papers from neighborhood associations — and that could increase the annual line item. The society’s supporters are suggesting an appropriation of $2.5 million to $4 million.

I have no problem with the city supporting and funding some of the Historical Society’s functions, but I’m concerned about what this would mean for the DC Archives (Naylor Ct) and the Washingtonia Division at the Martin Luther King Library (Gallery Place), both under the DC government’s jurisdiction. Does it mean the problems of the DC Archives can be ignored?
The article also says the Historical Society tells the city’s non federal stories and “the King public library and the Jewish Historical Society… have archives, theirs are more specialized.” When the author writes the “King public library” can I assume that’s the Washingtonia division at the MLK? And if so, what exactly is it’s speciality that makes it so different from the Historical Society’s archives? More printed and published material at the MLK? A better set of census microfilms at the MLK? Just for my own research I found a lot of overlap. With maps they and the Library of Congress overlap. The major differences were in quality of the document, ease and price of making duplicates, access, staffing and hours. However each repository has its own particular strengths that don’t overlap. The Historical’s on-line catalog makes it a superior resource as well as its fantastic photo collection. The Washingtonia’s strength is that it gets down to the neighborhood level in organization and has a great library of published resources. But they both cover DC history.
Also DC history is all over the city. It’s at the Historical Society, in the Washingtonia division of the MLK, the Library of Congress, George Washington University, Georgetown, Catholic, National Archives, and the DC Archives.

S.O.M.E. and cleaning

I’ve been meaning to mention something I’ve noticed, and despite the rocky relationship the neighborhood has with S.O.M.E., this should be mentioned. Several weekends when I’m running errands on the eastern end of the TC and NE DC I see a gentleman in a S.O.M.E. apron pushing along a cleaning cart sweeping up the sidewalks along North Capitol. I have seen him as far as the 100-200 block of P Street.
I’ve noticed this within the past year or so. In the earlier part of the decade, residents in the Hanover region would constantly complain about S.O.M.E. One of the complaints being about S.O.M.E. meal-related trash. Shall I gather things have gotten better?

Empower DC

I’m in a good mood. I’ve got my hot cup of British blend tea and a warm bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on multi-grain toast. Life is good. So in this good mood I’m looking over the newsletter sent to me by Empower DC.
Normally, I’d just delete it as it is lefty activist stuff, but as I said, I’m in a very good mood.
According to their email “Empower DC seeks to enhance and improve self-advocacy efforts to improve the quality of life of low-and moderate-income people in DC.” And looking over their newsletter, which is not available via their website (as far as I can tell) and their website they are challenging developers and private uses for DC owned property. Their newsletter has a series they are documenting and they describe it as so:

This is the first in a series of regular reports, entitled “People’s Property Now”, to be released by Empower DC’s People’s Property Campaign, providing information and analysis about the fate of public property in DC.

Empower DC’s People’s Property Campaign asserts that:
• As long as community needs exist in DC, there is no such thing as “surplus” public property.
• Public property is the common trust of the residents of the District of Columbia and must be maintained as public for current and future generations, and used for the public, not private profit.
• DC’s current law only provides a process for disposing of public property. Legislative change is necessary to create a transparent, community-driven input process to determine new public uses for available public properties.

I’m near the end of my sandwich and tea, so let me add my gently to the right opinion. One, why so critical of charter schools? Kingman Park is listed as being an example of ‘currently threatened property’ because it is slated to be a charter school. In the TC part of Shaw, Armstrong School languished as a city owned property and finally (it seems to have taken forever) the school has been cleaned up by the charter school in charge of it now. I do applaud Empower DC recognizing that McMillan Reservoir is green space, however it isn’t accessible green space, except to Canada Geese. My last comment is on DC owned land. It is not that once land is sold that DC won’t or can’t get land ever again. The DC government, as many governments have the power of eminent domain, they can seize property for unpaid taxes or other wrongs against the city and add to the city’s catalog of properties. Also DC owns enough nuisance properties, and we can point to a dozen city owned problems in Shaw alone owned by the city. If the city can offload these problem properties, turning them into housing (luxury, rentals, mod-income, mixed-use, whatever), with people who pay income taxes, the city and the surrounding community benefits.