Here's my notes from the Feb 11 ANC 4C Commission meeting. First, I have to give big props to Chair Vann-Di Galloway for an efficient meeting. This was the quickest ANC meeting I've ever been to: under an hour! Short TL;DR: Fastest ANC meeting ever, no real contentious agenda items. No MPD or DC Fire/EMS. Khalil Thompson from the mayor's office was there. I spoke, a bunch of community residents spoke, Uqdah had a teaching moment and the ANC passed a bunch of resolutions to support one various request or another. Longer Notes with my own editorial comments: Meeting kicked off with the usual, commissioner introductions, approval of agenda (a member of the audience actually seconded the motion to approve the minutes: ha ha, dry parlimentary humor). Regarding money, the ANC just received $5,600, its latest allotment from the city. Total money in checking is $13,029 and $16,732 in savings. (I'm curious the plans the commission has to spend this money in the upcoming year.) The ANC voted to have 801 Shepherd St NW remain the location of the official offices (books, records, etc.), and to keep Industrial Bank of DC as their bank. The ANC also voted to rescind a prior approved vote to spend $1,200 for refreshments at the ANC meetings. So no more noshes! (This is a good decision, having food at the ANC meeting never made much sense to me. Better to spend that money on community needs.) They also voted to approve the reduction in the small grant limit from $1,000 down to $500. (I don't think this was a good idea, unless they have concrete plans to spend their budget down all year. This reduction impacted the Upshur Street Arts & Crafts Fair, for example.) MPD didn't show up tonight, but Chair Galloway reminded people about the upcoming PSA 404/407 meeting, happening on 2/26 at 801 Shepherd Street NW. Khalil Thompson, the mayor's liaison for Ward 4 while we're missing a Councilmember, spoke briefly about the projects he was working on for the area, including: 16th Street Recreation project (meeting on 2/25 I believe), as well as an upcoming meeting next Thursday, 2/19, at Woodrow High School, to discuss community priorities for the mayor's DC budget. Commissioner Jeff Standish (4C03) asked Mr. Thompson to look into increasing the hours of operation at the area's public pools. Galloway (4C06) and John-Paul Hayworth (4C07) mentioned issues with stop signs. Mr Thompson also mentioned wanting to focus on the issue of pop-up conversions next month. Then came the community comments section. Not too many this time. Douglas Stallworth from Metro got up to talk about a Rider Survey happening tomorrow for the 60, 62, 63 & 64 bus lines. They'll be giving out surveys on the buses to riders to get feedback about improvements to those specific lines. Vercera Harvey-White, Program Director from the Family Reunification home (located at 519 Rock Creek) spoke about needing people to join their Community Advisory Board to help out with organizing community events and engaging with community issues. A representative from DCPS spoke about upcoming efforts talk about international content and perspective at Roosevelt High School. Speaking of Roosevelt High School, there was a class from the school attending the ANC meeting.The class, on DC History and Government, was there with four teachers: Ms. Jackson, Ms. Brown, Ms Brookes and Ms Johnson. They're trying to help the kids learn about local government issues and roles. I spoke about Petworth News and the Ward 4 Candidates website (you've totally checked the site, right? Next up was Cassandra Sanchez from the DCPS office of community engagement. Apparently this is a new thing, and she's still feeling out what they do, but right now their goal is to engage with the community and get 2-way conversations happening. At this point Taalib-Din Uqdah got up and said he wanted to help the kids get a feel for local government, and kind of went on an interesting rant about how the DC Council basically folded to the US Congress regarding decriminalization of marijuana. He said he was disappointed about the cancellation of the decriminalization (even though he voted against it in any case), because he feels the Council just gave in to Congress and didn't represent the will of the people (decriminalization passed by something near 78-80% voter approval in November 2014). "It's an example of a failed government at work," he said, getting himself a bit revved up. He said the Council was showing "wishbones when they should be showing backbones." (Good line, by the way.) He blamed newly elected DC Attorney General Racine for telling the Council they were liable to be arrested if they approved the decriminalization. He said our rights, enshrined in the first 10 Amendments, were being squashed. Then he sort of went off on a tangent about how the constitution was written by "a bunch of rich white men... slave owners... they had to own at least 50 slaves." I really didn't get this point as it seemed very heavy handed, and I'm not going to comment further on it beyond saying I think he just started preaching a bit and got carried away. He finished with we "have the right to stand up like a man and a woman, and take what belongs to us!" The audience clapped for him, and I guess the students got a lesson in local government. Then the last four items on the agenda were presented. The first was a request for a letter supporting a variance exception from the Zoning Board for 119 Varnum St NW. Apparently, the owners hired an architect to design a complete refurb that brings the structure right up to the property lines on both sides. The request is to have the 8 foot setback requirement waived by BZA. The letter of support, proposed by Commissioner Crowley (4C10) was approved by the ANC. Then Commissioner Maloney (4C02) presented his proposal to have the ANC support the continued suspension of the liquor license of the DC Club House. This is the "night club" that has seen numerous violations, and was the scene for the January 18th incident where a "unruly mob spilled out onto Georgia Avenue after a fight broke out in the club." Maloney said that ABRA should not support an establishment that "uses MPD to control their patrons." The proposal passed. Ron Kartz from the Armed Forces Retirement Home (Old Soldier's Home) came out to ask for a letter of support from the ANC to ABRA about a liquor license for the Defender's Inn. (Kartz is a 25-year military veteran.) AFRH is working with Rehabilitation Services and the Randolph Sheppard Vending Facility Program to build a new tavern just for residents of the retirement home and their guests. It's not for the public. The rebuild of the Defender's Inn tavern has nothing to do with the redevelopment of public land that's ongoing. On a side note, this tavern refurb is a great idea. I volunteer at the AFRH with Friends of the Soldiers Home and it's immensely satisfying to meet and help the vets. The ANC voted to support the letter -- except Commissioner Timothy Jones (4C08) who voted against it. Jones thought the effort for a letter of support before an application has been submitted to ABRA was "bringing the donkey before the cart" and that the ANC should wait until the application is submitted. Considering it's just a letter of support, and that I've seen Timothy Jones volunteer with the vets, I found his position difficult to understand. But then, that's his right to vote no. Lastly, Lyman's on 14th Street is seeking a letter of support from the ANC to DDOT about their wish to build an outdoor patio for customers. Long story short, the commission voted to support Lyman's request to DDOT and to change their designation from a tavern to a restaurant. And believe it or not, all that was done in like 45 minutes. Sweet.

from Petworth News

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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