Street Sweeping Begins March 1, Enforcement on March 12

The Department of Public Works begins its annual street sweeping program on March 1 and will continue until the end of October.

Enforcement will begin on March 12 where there is restricted on-street parking.

DPW is also announcing that it is expanding street sweeping to additional residential areas.  More details here.

Note: This post has been changed to reflect the correct date enforcement will begin.

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15th & P Bikeshare May Move

This post was cross-published on Nick Barron’s website.

I’m hearing the Capital Bikeshare station at 15th & P, right outside Tortilla Coast, may be moved to across the street, to the northeast corner of the intersection.

Bikeshare bicycles

I applaud this move.

The station’s current location, sandwiched between curb and restaurant, leaves little room for pedestrians on an extremely sidewalk with people coming and going to Whole Foods, Logan Hardware and CVS. Moving it across the street puts the station on a wider, less busy sidewalk without significantly impeding access to the station.

If anything, because there’s less congestion on the northeast corner of that intersection, access to the station will be enhanced, and pedestrians will be far less negatively affected by comings and goings at the station.

While not a Bikeshare customer myself, I pride our city on having a bikesharing system, the first of its kind in North America. And I applaud the District Department of Transportation in trying to find ways to accommodate all modes of transportation, and for attempting to tilt policy decisions ore toward an even-handed approach benefiting pedestrians and cyclists, not just automobile drivers.

I’m sure some could find fault in the possible move of this station, but governance is often about the greater good. By moving the station across the street, I believe the greater good of the neighborhood will be served.

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CDC Agenda for February 22

Here is the agenda for tonight’s Community Development Committee meeting: 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 7:00 PM
The Washington Plaza Hotel
#10 Thomas Circle, NW

1.     Meeting Agenda

2.     Approval of Agenda

3.      1250 9th Street, NW — Presentation by developer Kevin Riegler of Cas-Riegler regarding a mixed use project at 1250 9th Street, NW (SW corner of 9th and N Streets, NW).  Request for support of concept and massing (HPRB) and various variances/special exceptions (BZA).

4.     1345 14th Street-Informational presentation -Ben Miller

5.     926 N Street, NW-Request before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for concept/new construction of a four-story commercial building in the Blagden Alley-Naylor Court Historic District.

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Empty Lot on Rhode Island Ave to Remain Vacant

This post was initially published on Nick Barron’s website.

If you’re not a Housing Complex reader, you may have missed the news that the empty lot at 1427-1429 Rhode Island Ave. NW is going to remain empty for the foreseeable future.

This is the only empty lot on this block of Rhode Island Ave., and one of the few remaining empty lots in Logan Circle.

Jim Abdo, developer behind the project, had planned a 70-unit apartment building, which had been approved by ANC 2F before I joined the commission in September 2011.

Abdo and his attorney declined to give Housing Complex reporter Lydia DePillis, or ANC 2F, a reason for the decision not to proceed on the project at this time, nor has an adjusted timeline been disclosed.

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New Bundy Park Amenities Opening Soon

An email we received from Martin Moulton, president of the Convention Center Community Association, encourages Ward 2 neighbors to take advantage of new state-of-the-art athletic facilities at Bundy Park when they are open to the public.  (They are projected to be completed next month.)  From the email:

New Bundy Park amenities brought to the Shaw / Ward 6 Community by KIPP DC Public Charter Schools and its partners: The US Soccer Foundation, Roadside Development, Metro Sports Leagues, and the Friends of Bundy Park.

Look for announcements for opening day community events when the Friends of Bundy will give away hundreds of professional soccer balls to deserving local neighborhood young people.

For more info, contact:
Tom Petty,
Payam Bakhaje,

Bundy Park is between 5th Street and New Jersey Avenue.  Eagle-eyed observers who read the flier might think there was a mistake in describing the park as being in Ward 6.  The park was previously in Ward 5 but is now in Ward 6, per the new redistricting.

You can download a handy flier here.

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The Exquisite Timing of Mood Lounge

On Wednesday, The Ethiopian Times, which describes itself as “the only English newspaper in the United State serving the Ethiopian community,” published a little jeremiad under the headline “Mood Lounge was not found quilty [sic]”:

“The Mood Lounge has been under much scrutiny by the ANC  and a select group of neighbors, some of whom have been very vocal in their mission of shutting down Mood Lounge amidst allegations of noise violations.   Despite these accusations and the relentless harassment by this group of neighbors that accompany them, to date, the Mood Lounge has not been found in violation of any noise provisions.”

The editorial began by expressing “shock” and “sadness” over the double stabbing that occurred at the de facto nightclub on Dec. 30, 2011, despite ample evidence that Mood Lounge knew very well what was going on there, did very little to put in place the measures to have prevented it, and then impeded investigators, according to the ABC Board.

While published without a byline, the post speaks in the first person:

“We are compelled to make this statement because much of what has been speculated or reported on blogs and to some media outlets related to this incident, and Mood Lounge in general, is wrong.”

One might logically question whether this “newspaper” was relying on a ghost writer with extremely close connections to the editorial’s subject, if you know what I mean.  But that’s beside the point.

And yet, Mood Lounge The Ethiopian Times was just winding up with its caterwauling about the nonexistent harassment:

“The true issue appears to be the perception perpetuated by select neighbors that the Lounge’s patrons are undesirable.  It is unfortunate that in 2011 and 2012 that a person’s skin color or attire can cause them to be prejudged as undesirable and somehow unsafe.   The Mood Lounge is patronized primarily by Ethiopians and African Americans over the age of 21.”

(Slight digression. “Primarily” must be the operative phrase, because police discovered a 19-year-old was among the patrons on the night of the stabbings.)

Ah, yes, the nuclear option of modern politics: utterly baseless charges of racism.  It’s craven, dishonest and disgusting.  It’s intellectual laziness, a sure sign that you’re losing the argument.

You’ve heard of Godwin’s Law, right? It states with only mild irony that every online discussion will eventually degenerate into somebody comparing somebody else to Nazis or Hitler.  Maybe it’s time to propose “Mimi’s Corollary,” named for the scofflaw owner of Mood Lounge, Ababa “Mimi” Beyene.

There are a host of establishments within the boundaries of ANC 2F, past and present, that have had primarily African American or minority clientele. Not a single one of them in recent memory has generated even a sliver of a slice of the complaints, pandemonium, and violations of law and regulations that Mood Lounge has inflicted on the community with relative impunity.

I have received literally hundreds if not, by now, thousands of emails from neighbors who have been on the receiving end of this abuse.  ANC 2F has heard from them at multiple meetings, and many commissioners have spoken with them outside the context of official meetings.  Not once have I heard any of them utter a single word that would call their motives into question.  It’s awfully rich that Mood Lounge The Ethiopian Times would brilliantly deduce that “skin color” is at the root of this, when the neighbors themselves are an extremely diverse lot.

So let’s put this putrid little canard to rest, stop putting the accusers on trial, and start focusing on the issues at hand, shall we?

Instead, let’s get back to the exquisite timing alluded to above.

Just one day–one day–after this pathetic and invidiously crafted protestation of innocence, the ABC Board released its ruling on noise violations at Mood Lounge, stemming from a “show cause” hearing on Dec. 7, 2011.  To put it mildly, the Board wasn’t buying it.  Let’s skip to the ironic dessert before we enjoy the tasty entree:

“[W]e find that the Respondent guilty [sic] of the violation described in Charge I.”

In its Conclusions of Law, the ABC Board put the smack-down on Mood’s see-no-evil, hear-no-evil shtick:

“We find that the Government has shown through substantial evidence that the Respondent violated the terms of its Voluntary Agreement by playing music audible in The Nine condominiums and failing to cure the noise issues within the 30-day cure period. […]

“[T]he Board can only conclude that the Respondent has failed to cure the violation.

“We are not persuaded by the Respondent’s arguments that its actions in this matter were reasonable or that the noise and vibrations observed in The Nine are not a material violation of the agreement. The Respondent’s arguments regarding reasonableness are irrelevant in this matter. Section 6 of the Voluntary Agreement is clear that the neighboring residents should not hear noise or vibrations from the establishment in their residences. The establishment had 30 days after receiving notice from The Nine condominium owners to resolve the problem; yet, the noise issues returned two to three weeks after the sound test on May 19, 2011. As such, because the establishment failed to cure the violation, it is liable for violating the Voluntary Agreement.

“In addition, we also find that the noise experienced by The Nine condominium owners is a material violation of the Voluntary Agreement. […]

“The Voluntary Agreement is clear that the establishment’s neighbors have a right not to hear noise and vibrations in their residences. Thus, this prohibition is an essential term of the agreement, and necessary to ensure the neighborhood ‘s peace, order, and quiet. Any other interpretation would deny ANC 2F the benefit of its bargain with the Respondent.”

Sadly, despite the tongue-lashing, the ABC Board has been far too timid and, in the opinion of at least some ANC commissioners, is breaking the law by not permitting the commission to offer the advice to which we are statutorially entitled during last month’s hearing–not to be confused with the December hearing–in the wake of a double stabbing outside Mood Lounge.  The Board’s response to that bloody night in December was essentially to ask Mood Lounge to abide by the security plan that they were required to have in the first place.  Their response to the noise violations ruled upon today: a $500 fine.

Clearly something is wrong with this picture.

Meanwhile, the hits just keep on coming:  Yet another show-cause hearing is in the offing for additional noise violations, and ABC actions regarding still more violations are also pending.  One of these is Mood’s failure to keep a required log of the multitude of complaints that have been lodged against them.

Another, which the ANC voted upon this past Wednesday, relates to an assault that took place on Oct. 30, 2011, the alleged perpetrator of which was the promoter of the event that evening at Mood Lounge.  Teferi Getu Desta has reportedly been arrested in connection with the incident.

So ANC 2F has been engaging in “harassment”? Nonsense.  We’re just doing our job.

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New Community Development Committee Chairman

I’m pleased to announce that last night my colleagues elected me the new chairman of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2F’s Community Development Committee.  It’s in some ways a return for me (and not a “comeback,” as Norma Desmond would say). During my first term, I served as CDC chairman for several months before work took me on a brief diversion to New York.

I have been also a member of the CDC for all three of my terms on the ANC.  (According to our bylaws, commissioners may appoint up to two CDC members from within their own Single Member Districts. My other appointee is Helen Kramer.  She previously served for many years on ANC 2F, including stints as both chair of the CDC and of the full commission.  For those of you who know her, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am swimming in her wake, as it were, when it comes to her sheer breadth of experience and institutional memory.)

During all of those years, I had the pleasure of serving with Mike Benardo, first as a CDC member prior to his election to the ANC, and then in his role as commissioner chairman of the CDC.

Mike was recently elected chairman of the full ANC after longtime chairman Charles Reed stepped aside because of health reasons, although Charles remains on the commission–thankfully for us and the community. The increased demands on Mike make it understandable that he wouldn’t be expected to chair both the commission and ANC’s busiest and longest-standing committee.

Mike has been an active, knowledgable and outstanding committee chairman, and I have no doubt he will bring those same qualities to ANC 2F’s chairmanship.  In many ways, I will also be swimming in his wake.  (That’s a lot of swimming!  Maybe I should attempt a channel crossing.)

So please contact me if you have issues that will be coming before the commission, such as historic preservation applications, zoning exceptions and variances, public space permits, DDOT traffic plans, etc. My contact info is here, and you can add my cell phone to the list: 202-744-1921.  However, often when I talk to people on the phone, I’ll ask them to send an email anyway.  I rely heavily on my electronic archives!

Oh, and by the way, the CDC meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month, with the exception of months like July that don’t have a corresponding ANC meeting in the following month.  (Like the rest of Washington, we flee town in August.)  You can always find agendas on this website, and you can learn more about the CDC in our bylaws.

One last thing: ANC 2F is trying to inventory what are known as “deteriorated properties” or “properties with significant maintenance problems” for DC’s Historic Preservation Office.  If you think any properties within ANC 2F boundaries fit that description, please contact me as your soonest opportunity.

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