Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coolidge H.S. football team plays its first game under coach Natalie Randolph tomorrow night

The Coolidge Colts will play the first game of their season tomorrow (Friday) night, which also happens to be their first game played under their new head coach, Natalie Randolph, who is one of few women to head a high school football program.

Friday, August 27
7:00 pm
Calvin Coolidge Colts vs. Archbishop Carroll Lions
Calvin Coolidge High School
6315 5th Street, NW

A couple of questions for Clark Ray regarding public safety

In which I question people who are running for office (in this case, Clark Ray for At-Large Councilmember) in the wake of a series of recent tragedies.

Bwian: Over the weekend, a 31 year old Catholic University student was shot and killed in Petworth. This, along with other recent shootings in the District, has brought attention to your opponent, incumbent Phil Mendelson, and what many perceive to be his soft-on-crime approach. If you were to take Mendelson's place as chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, what would you do differently to curb gun violence in the District?

CR: I would use a three pronged approach to addressing these problems and begin each of the three parts of the approach immediately.
1. I will work with Delegate Eleanor Norton to make sure that the US Parks Department enhances the lighting in the parks they control and then has officers patrolling the parks.
2. I would call an immediate community meeting with the DC Chief of Police and the Park Police to develop a multi-tiered approach and devise a three month action plan to address the specific issues the community has regarding safety in the parks. I would work with the community to monitor impact of the plan and to modify action steps if needed.
3. I will then call another community meeting between the community and police officials to discuss the results of the action plan and to determine what further steps including any potential legislation is needed to protect the residents of the area.
Regarding conversations that I have had with MPD officers – I would want to take a serious look at the District Gun Trafficking Laws – they need to be strengthened – we need to make it harder for guns to come into the city and to be illegally sold in the city.

Bwian: Along similar lines, what are your plans to strengthen the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services? Much of the gun violence in the city has been committed by individuals under the age of 18.

CR:1.I have called on DYRS to immediately release the names of all escapees from facilities their agency controls. These names must be released to the community (while protecting all their constitutional rights) so that the community can assist in apprehending them.
2. I have called for a total review of how we deal with juveniles in the justice system. I believe the courts must have more control over where to sentence violent youth and that for all youth in the system we must provide appropriate education and programs so that these youth don't advance from being juvenile criminals to being adult criminals. There are best practice programs being used across the nation and we have to review them and determine which are appropriate for use. We must at all costs stop what some have called a revolving door but I call an "open" door out of DYRS. Contrary to what the incumbent has said, I believe that there must be a combination of both change in legislation and policy if we are to fully deal with the issues at DYRS.
3. I will hold hearings on these DYRS issues in the communities most impacted by youth crime. I believe that working parents and youth in school must have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas and they can't do this if hearings are held only in the Wilson building at 10:00am on a weekday morning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Housing Complex's Report on the latest Walter Reed redeveloment meeting

Lydia DePillis over at Housing Complex has a summary of the latest Walter Reed redevelopment meeting (the one at which I was busy experiencing a generation gap in action). In brief: "The allocation would accommodate about 1,000 units of housing, as well as a 170-key hotel. Retail elements include a medium-sized grocery store, restaurants and cafes, and a 'retail pedestrian village.' The 125,000 square feet of office space would go to non-profits, 'creative thought' enterprises, and a business incubator."

No mention of a bus garage in the current plan...thankfully (no offense to David Alpert).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sketchy Safeway to be redeveloped by CityVista's people (fingers crossed)

Jonathan O'Connell reports that the developer behind Mount Vernon Square's CityVista is "nearing a deal" to redevelop the Petworth Safeway (aka Sketchy Safeway, Stinky Safeway).

It's about time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Houses/Condos for sale in Brightwood, 08/20/10

Check out a list of condos and houses for sale in Brightwood. Prices range from $108,000 for a one-bedroom condo to $699,000 for a five-bedroom bungalow. I see one open house listed for this weekend, at 6112 7th Street NW.

(Tip of the hat to Life on the Edgewood for pointing out how easy it is to search Redfin by neighborhood!) (Regardless of how debatable the "neighborhood" boundaries may be.)

Some thoughts on the Walter Reed Re-use Plan meeting

I left the first two Walter Reed Re-use meetings feeling excited about our neighborhood’s future. I left last night’s meeting feeling frustrated.

This was because, at least in part, there was a generational lopsidedness at my table. (Table assignments are given randomly, so one table isn’t dominated by a single group of friends/neighbors/people with common interests. This is done to facilitate unbiased discussion between citizens. A volunteer from America Speaks is present at each table to serve as moderator, so the “unbiased discussions” don’t turn ugly.) There were only two other “young” people at my table. Which is, I suppose, somewhat proportionally representative of Ward 4 in general (our ward “tends to skew old”, as ANC 4B commissioner Sara Green stated so eloquently last night). I haven’t experienced that kind of tension between the “young” and “not-so-young” residents of our area since I’ve lived here. The not-so-young at my table were concerned mostly with using the land for senior housing, along with amenities that would be useful to seniors. This is of course an important matter, particularly for an area of the city that “skews old”. But they mostly scoffed at the concerns of the more youthful people at out table (they seemed to be against any retail development or improved transportation infrastructure).

Another source of my frustration was a general feeling of dread that the outcome of the project won’t be anything close to what I’ve envisioned. The developers, in my opinion, have come up with an attractive, mixed-use plan for the land, and I’m hopeful that it moves forward smoothly. I want it to be done well, and have tremendous positive impact on our area!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ward 4 Chat-n-Chew, Brightwood Bistro Thursday 8/26

From an e-mail:

Please join us for the District of Columbia Neighborhood College
Ward 4 Chat-N-Chew
“Economic Development and its Impact on the District of Columbia”
Thursday, August 26, 2010
6:30 pm –8:30 pm
Brightwood Bistro
5832 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20011

Please RSVP by August 24th to Karima Morris Woods at karima at gwu dot edu or 202-994-5384

The DC Neighborhood College (DCNC) is a public/private partnership managed by The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. We provide civic development training for District neighborhood leaders to become more effective change agents and advocates through a twelve-month program of learning and networking. The Ward 4 Chat-N-Chew will focus on the impact of economic development within the District of Columbia. There will be an overall discussion and a series of table conversations on topics such as: How do you define economic development? What are the positive aspects that come along with economic development? What are the challenges that come along with economic development? What are the next steps for me and my organization? The purpose of the DCNC Chat-N-Chew sessions are to engage the community about their hopes and concerns; help local communities to move forward; and shape the future direction of each community.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Third Walter Reed re-use project meeting is Thursday night

The third Walter Reed Re-Use Plan Public Workshop will take place this Thursday at 7pm. The focus for this meeting is the presentation of the "preferred scenarios" that have been developed from the data gathered from residents and other stakeholders at the two previous meetings. Please note that the location is different this time (it's at the St. George Ballroom, 4335 16th St. NW, behind St. George Antiochian Church at 16th & Webster).

MPD makes multiple prostitution arrests in Petworth

From the MPD-4 listserv:

On Saturday evening, the Fourth District Vice Unit, along with members from the Crime Suppression Team conducted an operation in the area of Georgia Ave and Taylor St NW. This area has been noted as an area for possible street prostitution in the past. First, we deployed several undercover officers (male).

Their job was to identify and possibly target any female prostitutes that might be operating in the area. In a very short time, we were able to identify and arrest several female suspects in the area and charge them with prostitution-related offenses. Then, we deployed several undercover officers (female), posing as potential prostitutes in order to target the "Johns". Over the next several hours, we were able to arrest several subjects and charge them with prostitution-related offenses as well.

This two-fold approach was an attempt by the vice unit to address both sides of the problem and, as a result, was very effective. The undercover officers did an outstanding job and the rest of my team acted in a highly professional and efficient manner. The Fourth District Vice unit plans to conduct these operations targeting street prostitution on a regular basis within different areas of the Fourth District. If anyone observes any activities or areas that they feel we should focus on, please let me know so that we can help address those issues. Thank you for your ongoing support.

John R. Haines
Fourth District Vice Unit

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Let's put things into perspective

DCist reports that the District Department of Public Works has collected over 50 tons of debris from last week's storms, with Ward 4 being the hardest-hit area of the city. To give you an idea of how much wreckage that actually is: fifty tons is about half the mass of a blue whale, and also the equivalent of twenty-six average-sized automobiles! And DPW is continuing to pick up even more debris.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Did you know that Brightwood has weekly safety walks?

We meet on a different evening at a different time each week (which can make it a little tough to plan, but it's necessary in order to catch perpetrators off-guard) and we're accompanied by at least one (often more) MPD 4 police officer(s). It's a great way to meet your neighbors, meet your beat cops, share safety concerns with each other, and show perps (and potential perps, and perps-in-training [PITs?!]) that we're watching them and won't put up with their crap.

Since the meeting dates and times are kept under wraps I've been reluctant to post them here, but we definitely want as many neighbors as possible to take part in these walks. E-mail me at thebrightwoodian at gmail dot com and I'll be sure to keep you updated on the when/where each week.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Capital Bikeshare ignores Upper Georgia Avenue; join anyway

The website for the new Capital Bikeshare program has launched, and the program itself will launch in September. They're running a special introductory offer on annual memberships ($50 instead of the usual $75), so go join.

Examine their map of proposed bike station locations and you'll notice that Ward 4 is horribly underserved. Yes, I complained about this to DDOT, telling them that I hope more Ward 4 stations will be added should the program prove to be phenomenally successful.

Usually, when a non-Brightwoodian asks me what it's like to live in a neighborhood that's not served by Metro, I reply that it doesn't affect me much since I personally am pretty stalwart about using my bike as my main form of transportation. Wouldn't the presence of Capital Bikeshare stations in our neighborhood help others to get around our admittedly transportationally-challenged neck of the woods more easily? I hope DDOT recognizes this in the future.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two new residential developments for Takoma DC

Takoma's Long Awaited Residences May Be Underway Soon, announces DC Mud. As soon as the Chevron company cleans up the contaminated soil on the land, which was home to one of their filling stations years ago. From what I understand, part of the reason for the project's long delay is that Chevron's been dragging its feet. Here's hoping it comes together soon, as a nice building on that eyesore-of-an-empty-lot will make the walk from the Takoma Metro to Old Takoma much, much more pleasant.

I also received information on the Metro-Village co-housing development, to be built on Spring Place NW, behind The Gables. "The 40-45 privately owned homes will be comprised of studios, lofts, 1 BR and 2 BR homes," stated an email sent by Ann Zabaldo, who has worked on other co-housing projects in the area (including Silver Spring's Eastern Village). More information at

Density around the Takoma Metro: a very good thing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Georgia Ave Community Review this Saturday

Encouraging everyone to attend the Community Review of Georgia Avenue this Saturday, August 7 from 9 to 4 (lunch will be provided) at Howard's School of Architecture and Planning (6th & Howard Pl. NW).

More info from

The Community Review is an event sponsored by the Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force and Howard University designed to gather community input into the future of the Georgia Avenue Corridor.


Historically, communities experiencing development and urban renewal have often been left out of the actual process of envisioning, designing, and contributing to the development of real estate in their communities. These decisions are often made without community input or involvement in ways that often run contrary to the needs and wishes of current residents, business owners, and space users. This Community Review is an opportunity for the Georgia Avenue community to stake a claim in guiding the process and making their voices heard by the city, developers, retailers, and other entities which will affect our community.