The New ANC6B?

UPDATE 29 Jan: The meeting referred to below was a 4-hour marathon.  While it did soften the 6 vs 4 split in the Commission, I am not sure about other accomplishments.  Time will tell.  Lots of talk about changing processes and setting priorities.  The former will be interesting experiments; the latter will be overtaken by events throughout 2011.  In my view, the Hine Redevelopment Project will be–by necessity–the main focus of ANC6B in 2011.  It alone once completed will have major impacts on all of us living on Capitol Hill.  The challenge for the ANC, working closely with the community it represents, is to assure the impacts are primarily positive.

Original Post: ANC6B is changing.  Most of the debate about how has been “behind the scenes” so far.  But, it will break into the open on Tuesday, January 25, at the ANC’s Executive Committee Meeting.   Generally, this rather dull meeting has simply set the agenda for the following month’s set of meetings.  But, with 3 hours added to the schedule of the January meeting, I am not sure what to expect.

These 3 hours were initially proposed by Commissioners now in control of ANC6B as a separate, closed meeting; a so-called “retreat.”  Those of us considered the “old guard” that had been accused during the election in 2010 of holding secret ANC meetings, pushed for an open meeting as required by our By Laws.  Surprisingly, we won the argument.

So, come and see the formation of the New ANC6B for yourself.  Or, stay home/stay warm and just read my report on the debates at and outcomes of the meeting next week.  I, for one, am more curious about substantive issues that may be proposed rather than procedural changes.

Clarification: Commissioner Frishberg wishes me to note that he never was in favor of a closed meeting.  My apologies.

Report: ANC6B January Meeting

Much has changed within 6B and it was reflected in the January meeting.  The Commission now includes 4 new Commissioners who were elected on campaign promises to open up the Commission and make it more transparent and efficient.  Elected to 6B leadership positions for 2011 on Tuesday January 11 were: Commissioner Neil Glick (6B09), Chair; Commissioner Ivan Frishberg (6B02), Vice Chair; Commissioner Jared Critchfield (6B06), Secretary; Commissioner Carol Green (6B07), Treasurer; and Commissioner Brian Flahaven (6B09), Parliamentarian.  Only two of these slots are held by “hold over” Commissioners.

Since my re-election in November 2010 (with 61% of the vote), I had planned to run for Chair.  But I discovered that I was unable to garner the necessary 6 votes because of suspicions that I am resistant to change. That’s the rough and tumble world of politics for you.  The upside of losing is that without any 6B management responsibility (not even those monthly Minutes I produced for 2 years), I am freed up to focus on my single member district.  A very good outcome because I do thoroughly enjoy working closely with all the residents in 6B04.

But I digress … what else happened at the meeting?  We approved a Voluntary Agreement for the Bavarian Beer Garden to be located at the corner of 8th & L Streets SE.  I have been opposed to this new tavern (i.e., bar) license for a number of reasons not the least of which is that most of the patrons will be drinking beer and listening to oompah music in an open air “summer garden”.  Granted there are only a handful of residents living in the immediate area of this pending noise maker but expectations are that their numbers will increase in the future.  I pushed for earlier closing hours and fewer live entertainment hours and days.  But, in the end, I voted for the VA, reluctantly, as I did not think that the Protest with ABRA was going to generate more concessions.  To me, this process clearly illustrates the limits of the powers of the ANC when it comes to liquor licenses.

The ANC spent a considerable amount of time debating sending a letter to DCPS, supporting the reopening of Van Ness Elementary School.  I am not necessarily opposed to the idea but abstained because (1) Van Ness is not located in 6B, and (2) advance notice was not given to the community that this matter would be voted on at the meeting.  The issue was brought to the Commission by new Commissioner Frishberg.  I do not know if there are those who oppose reopening Van Ness but, if there are, I would have liked to hear their views.  Also, not present to inform us was anyone from the charter school community.  Advance notice of this matter could have generated a more balanced debate.

The meeting finished up with unanimous votes on historic preservation and zoning issues and a number of 6B financial matters.  Stay tuned, though, as who knows the direction the new ANC6B will take.  At the February meeting, the new Chair will appoint Chairs for the two Standing Committees (Planning & Zoning and ABC) and, I suspect, set up a number of new task forces.

Residential Parking Near Barracks Row

The growth of restaurants and taverns along Barracks Row is a positive development for Capitol Hill but has created various problems for residents living nearby.  Solving these problems will take, I think, a multifaceted approach.  As part of that process, Commissioner Norman Metzger (ANC6B03) and I (ANC6B04)–with invaluable help from Commissioner Garrison–have been discussing with DDOT some options to change the residential parking scheme near Barracks Row.  Attached is a document that lays out the results of those discussions to date.  We are releasing this “Draft Proposal on Changes to Residential Parking in Blocks Near Barracks Row” to generate a conversation with affected residents.  So, please let us know what you think.

Update (Jan 16): With one exception, all the many comments I have received on these proposals came as direct replies to my Beat 26 email.  Here is a preliminary summary: (1) general support for lowering the parking fee for the city Lot under the freeway, plus many other suggestions offered on ways to encourage people to park cars there and away from residential areas, (2) general support for extension of the Zone 6 Only area to, say, 11th Street SE on the east, and (3) general support for extending RPP hours to later in the evening.  Plus … an offering of a myriad of other options.

Draft Proposal on Parking Near Barracks Row Jan2011

Report: PSA 106 January Meeting

Gosh.  One would have thought crime has disappeared in PSA 106.  While almost 100 people showed up for the December meeting, there were only 5 of us at the January 4 meeting.  Why?  I suspect most don’t pay much attention to crime unless the media picks up a victim story or the bloggers go nuts.

Sorry if you missed the meeting, as it was a particularly good one.  We had an agenda, the first time I have seen such a document at a PSA meeting in many years.  Lt. Micciche has the flu so the meeting was led by Sgt. Joshua Strassman, who is in charge of the evening shift in the PSA.  He presented a comparison of crime report totals in 2010 vs 2009.  The data show that all categories except thefts are down (see numbers below).  Thefts are crimes of opportunity and most can be prevented by better securing of bicycles, asking UPS/FedEx not to leave packages at your front door, not hanging purses on your chair in a restaurant, etc.

Ms Lynette Collins was at the meeting from the DC Office of the Attorney General.  Juvenile crimes are prosecuted by the OAG and she was able to answer many questions about that process.  However, questions also arose from those who believe the system in DC is too lenient.  I reminded everyone of the task force on juvenile crime CM Wells had a year or so ago that produced a list of suggested changes but noted that CM Graham now has oversight of the juvenile system.  One item that came out of the task force was better sharing of information about juveniles with police.  It turns out, according to Ms Collins, that victims and witnesses are also now able to be told about the resolution of a juvenile crime although they cannot share that information with anyone.  If they do, they can be prosecuted.

Doug Klein, U.S. Assistant Attorney, 1D Community Prosecutor, was present.  It turns out that the Jan 3 arrest of a theft from auto thief (see my Jan 4 email) was none other than our infamous Mr. Alfred Dent.  Normally, these guys get what is essentially a slap on the wrist from the court system but this time the USA office has charged Mr. Dent with a felony.  They are able to do this since he has been found guilty 3 times in the past of a misdemeanor charge; they also have a witness.  Mr. Klein urges residents to prepare Community Impact Statements to aid the prosecutors in getting a sentence greater than 5 to 7 years.  BTW, our other infamous theft from auto guy, Mr. Vines, is apparently out of jail these days and is probably working in our neighborhood.  (I did a lot of reporting about these two guys back in early 2009.  Can dig into my files for more information on them and how they are treated by the court system if folks are interested.)

Community Impact Statements
.  Carolyn Crank was at the PSA 106 meeting to urge residents to submit statements on the Papa Johns Pizza case (see my email of Jan 4).  So we had an opportunity to discuss these statements. I had forgotten that it is not necessary to use the form.  All you need to do is write up something about how your neighborhood and/or you personally are affected by crimes of the type.  This statement can be sent as an email to Carolyn at <carolyn.crank@usdoj.gov> and she will get it to the appropriate prosecutors.  The Papa John’s case statements are needed quickly as the sentencing in the case is scheduled for February 28.

Finally, Sgt Strassman reported on the actions MPD and other agencies are taking as a followup to the December meeting regarding Potomac Gardens.  Here’s a partial list.  In Phase One: processing any open arrest warrants, enhanced supervision of parolees (CSOSA: Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency), increased vice operations, serving of barring notices (Housing Authority police), conducting zero tolerance policing.  In Phase Two: initiating removal processes for repeat/violent offenders, changing patrol patterns, and increased outreach to at risk kids.  Obviously, these are all matters that should be conducted routinely.  But like all of us, MPD and others have to choose where to focus their attention as they cannot be/do everything at once.  Surely, the 100 attendees at the December meeting focused their attention on Potomac Gardens.  But, something else will happen somewhere else and resources will have to be shifted.  Hopefully, not before much of this good work is done.

Inspector Reese (supervises all the PSAs on the south side of Capitol Hill) was at the meeting and stated that he hopes to continue the heavier than normal PSA 106 and PSA 107 on foot and car patrolling in the area of Potomac Gardens for as long as he can.  BTW, the robbery in December that occurred at 12th & Pennsylvania that I mentioned in my previous email?  It occurred on 12/11 before the enhanced patrolling went into effect.

PSA 106 Year to Year Data.  Homicides (1 in 2009, 0 in 2010; 100% decrease), Sex Abuse (3, 1, 67% down), Assaults w/o gun (25, 20; 20%), Assaults w/gun (7, 5; 29%) Robberies w/o gun (64, 49; 23%), Robberies w/gun (12, 9; 25%), Burglaries (70, 49; 30%), Thefts (137, 182; 33% increase), Thefts from Auto (246, 170; 31% down), Stolen Autos (67, 47; 30%), Arson (0, 0).  Total violent crime (112, 84; 25% down).  Total property crime (520, 448; 14% down).  Total Crime (632, 532; 16% down)