ANC 4C Meeting Notes for April 8, 2015

The ANC 4C meeting was Wednesday night (April 8th), and my notes are awesome (meaning they're long). As always, if anything was misquoted or wrong, that’s my fault. If you disagree with anything, that’s the ANCs fault. The TL;DR (the short of it):

It was an interesting meeting. DC Attorney General Karl Racine and his staff stopped by, as did some Ward 4 candidates and Fox 5 News. MPD was a no-show and WMATA talked about a 14th St express bus (if they only had money for it). Grants were granted, a church was opposed, and a Golden Paradise was approved.

The Long of it:

When the ANC 4C agenda says the meeting starts at 6:30, Chair Vann-Di Galloway ain’t messing around. That gavel came down at 6:30 on the button with only 6 commissioners present (they eventually all arrived). While I would really like more opportunity for the community to interact and speak on presentations and other matters that come before the ANC, I do like a meeting that’s run efficiently. (Plus the Petworth Library staff apparently made it clear that the ANC has to be out by 9, no exceptions.)

Speaking of efficient, ANC 4C has $16,732.70 in checking and $16,736.83 in savings. Time to spend that money on the community (have any ideas for grants? See your commissioner).

The meeting kicked off with the Community Comment period. Resident Stephen Wright got up to thank the ANC for helping with the Historic Landmark designation of Grant Circle. “While it was too late of 16 Grant Circle, the rest of the Circle was approved,” he said. It will be about 30 days until the designation goes into effect.

Khalil Thompson, the Mayor’s Ward 4 liaison and the man at every meeting, mentioned he will have a new colleague to help him work with the Ward soon. He has office hours this week: Friday from 1-3 and Saturday 10-12 at the Highlands (4706 14th St NW). Khalil said the Mayor’s office was still looking at a comprehensive plan for dealing with crime, and has been working with ANCs 4B, 4C and 4D. Khalil also mentioned there’s another Ward 4 Clean up slated for April 18th from noon-2pm at the Raymond Rec Center (3725 10th St NW).

Josh Brown from Councilmember Bonds office spoke about the upcoming meeting at the Swift apartments (above Safeway) on April 25th (10-11:30am). MPD will be there, along with CM Bonds and ANC commissioners. I’ll have a post on this soon, along with a few quotes from CM Bonds.

Resident Juanita McKenzie spoke about her group that is focused on affordable housing and referred to a flyer at the back of the meeting (but I wasn’t able to locate it so unfortunately don’t have more to share).

Commissioner Taalib-Din Uqdah mentioned that AKA (4411 14th St NW) was having a Ward 4 candidates forum on Sunday, April 12th from 4-6pm (though I heard it was from 3-5:30pm?)

Comm Uqdah also proudly mentioned that his teen son is now interning at the Crane and Turtle, shadowing the head chef Makoto Hamamura (“expect to visit my son’s restaurant in 4-5 years.”) A deservedly proud papa (his son is great baker as well).

The new DCRA Director, Melinda M. Bolling, will attend ANC 4C’s June meeting — great idea to come and talk to her if you have concerns about how DCRA deals with building permits and businesses in the Ward.

Then Commissioner Joe Maloney spoke about the Buddhist Congregational Church (5401 16th St NW) and their request for a special zoning exception (they have a hearing with BZA on May 5th). The Church wants to build a second story on its existing structure to accommodate a dining facility for their congregation. Comm Maloney said he’s reached out to the Church numerous times to no response (“they won’t cooperate with the ANC.”) Comm Uqdah said he’s received and knows about numerous complaints about congregation members parking in the alley behind the church and blocking in neighbors. After mentioning that he’s posted information about the church’s BZA request publicly on the listservs for the past two weeks, the ANC voted to oppose the special exception request.

The new manager from the Petworth Recreation Center did not attend… so maybe we’ll meet this person in May, said Commissioner John-Paul Hayworth.

We then spent a fair amount of time talking with Douglas Stallworth about the proposed new Express Bus Line with limited stop service to go down 14th Street (from Takoma to Federal Triangle) with 19 stops. Long story short, after a 9-month study, WMATA determined that an Express Bus made sense; however, it’s languished since 2012 because there’s no funding for it (he recommends residents write to their at-large Council Members). Total cost for this new rush hour Express Bus line would be $1.3 million annually. So everyone seems to want the express, but DC gov’t hasn’t funded it. A resident, Millicent Toya (name is likely wrong, sorry!) spoke about the need for lower cost transit options. Lisa Barnes, a local real estate broker, spoke about the lack of parking at new construction, so mass transit needs to be available. “We need to rent the stadium and have a conversation!” she said.

Another resident got up to say that “trolly folly” was a problem and “Put the trolly line on Connecticut Ave and see how long that idea stays around.”

Commissioner Rickey Williams made a motion to have the ANC support the 14 St. Express Bus line, and it was approved.

Then DC Attorney General Karl Racine arrived, and he wanted to talk about 2 things: synthetic drugs and a balanced government.

The AG started off talking about how 76% of DC voters want an independent attorney general, who meets three criteria:

1) Be faithful to DC 2) Represent DC (Mayor, Council, Agencies) 3) Represent the Public Interest

He said that the Attorney General is accountable to the public, since it’s now an elected position.

He spoke about his “Keys to Justice” program (worth reading, download it here: http://bit.ly/1JqLmHu), of which he focused on Consumer Protection, Juvenile Justice and Public Integrity tonight. He talked briefly about protecting DC residents, especially those at the most risk, from predatory lending practices like pay-day loans and similar. He also spoke about a recent victory in ensuring juveniles were no longer shackled in court (astonishing that they did this). AG Racine credited CMs Kenyan McDuffie and David Grosso, along with Chief Judge Lee Satterfield in getting this accomplished. Regarding public integrity, he said that his office using the age-old approach to fighting corruption in government: “follow the money” (referring to land contracts). Racine said “We need a check and balance” in DC government to “make sure that things are, as they say, kosher.”

He then introduced his director of community outreach, Robert White, and Michael Aniton, who works with the Neighborhood and Victim Services section. Mr Aniton spoke about the problems with synthetic drugs in DC, specifically with small corner stores and groceries selling it to young teens. He pointed out that synthetic drugs are not fake marijuana, they are drugs that can induce psychosis, seizures, aggressive behavior and other side effects.

Aniton said that the AG’s office was aggressively going after the property owners of troubled properties. According to a press release today from the office of the attorney general, the OAG has “filed Notices of Unlawful Activity against the owners of 800 Upshur Street NW and 3653 Georgia Avenue NW because of repeated instances of selling synthetic drugs. The owners of those properties are working with OAG to comply with the law.”

The OAG contacts the owner of the property, even if there is a tenant renting, and makes an effort to work out the issues. If this process fails or the owner doesn’t work with the OAG, then they file a complaint against the owner. He said the owner of the Riyad was “working with their office” (but I’ve heard that the owner of the building may be looking to evict the Riyad from the building /gossip).

AG Racine talked more about the independence of the OAG, trying to counter the Mayor’s attempt to curtail his ability to counter-balance the Council and the Mayor. He ended his presentation discussing the upcoming Ward 4 Council election, saying he was political, and he had an observation, asking residents to consider the following characteristics when they vote for their new council members, to make sure they voted for someone:

- Trustworthy - Independent and not beholden to anyone - Real experience

After that interesting interlude of politics (it was interesting, that isn’t snark), Erin Lane got up to speak about the awesome Petworth Community Market (introduced by Commissioner Crowley). The Market provides great access to fresh vegetables, breads, local artisans, music and more. And they also provide doubling of SNAP / WIC benefits, but all that doesn’t come cheap. The Market asked the ANC to provide a grant to cover the cost of permits and parking meters (they have to pay the city for the amount the city is losing by the Marketing blocking the meters on 9th street on Saturday mornings). The ANC voted to pass a resolution supporting the Market’s exemption from having to pay a public space license (since they accept SNAP/WIC). The ANC also approved a $500 grant for the market.

Commissioner Zach Teutsch introduced an ABRA application support request from a new restaurant, Golden Paradise (3903 14th Street NW, near Randolph). The owner, Rosa Muñoz (who doesn’t really speak English) had a broker there named Anna Deleon who helped her present to the ANC. The restaurant plans to offer primarily American fare, along with some “Hispanic and maybe Italian food as well,” according to Ms. Deleon. They signed a voluntary agreement with the ANC, and the ANC voted to support their ABRA license application, as well as a stipulated liquor license.

Commissioner John-Paul Hayworth introduced Julie Eisenberg, owner of Lighthouse Yoga. Ms Eisenberg requested a grant from the ANC for 2 scholarships to pay for local Petworth residents to attend an upcoming “Yoga for Youth” training and certification program. Their website describes the program goal to “provide urban youth with tools of self discovery that foster hope, discipline and respect for self, others and community.” The ANC voted to provide a $500 grant for 2 scholarships.

The last two items on the ANC’s agenda was a proposal by Commissioner Rickey Williams to DCRA to enforce that when work is being done on a property, the construction crew / developer ensures that all necessary work is completed in order to maintain the integrity of neighbor properties. The ANC voted to approve this proposal (with some “friendly amendments” by Comm Uqdah).

Lastly, the ANC approved the expense to pay for a membership renewal for Commissioner Timothy Jones to the Urban Land Institute. There wasn’t any discussion on what benefit this membership has to the community (because the community isn’t allowed to ask — see the issue?).

Then the ANC allowed a few Ward 4 Council candidates to speak in front of the audience:

Brandon Todd spoke about his 7 years experience working for Muriel Bowser as her community outreach director.

Dwayne Toliver spoke about his 7 years of experience on ANC 4A, his legislative experience and his work with Great Streets and Walter Reed.

Renée Bowser spoke about her background as a labor / union lawyer, that she taught law at UDC and Howard, and that she’s an independent thinker.

Gwenellen Corley-Bowman spoke about her 28 years in Petworth, her 32 years as a teacher (now retired) and her push for affordable housing and working to help youth the area.

If you want more information on the candidates, then please visit http://bit.ly/17jDEC2

And that’s it. Out of the Library by 8:30pm, on time.

No free beer for reading to the end, just the satisfaction you now have feeling informed about your local government. ;)

from Petworth News April 09, 2015 at 12:54AM

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.



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