Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lemonade- Logan Circle Churches Rally

When the Almighty gives you lemons....
So the rally was about parking. Not so sure. I heard a few things, my ear picked up on some other things, but I can't say the 'right to double park' was the main event. It was the draw, but not the topic.
When I first arrived, there was something about a threat to drive churches out of DC. I went to my DC church today, didn't hear a thing about that. There was a lot of "we're here to stay" going on in the beginning. There were several pastors and ministers coming up to the mike to speak, and I must note, 2 white pastors including someone representing the National Cathedral (silly Episcopalian).
But I digress. I did hear hope. Some speakers mentioned how the churches and the residents need to work together. Linda Cropp was there, and she looked good, and she spoke. She started off talking about Spring and 'rebirth' and about being able to pray and worship in peace, as well as solutions that will not block residents in ( I think those were her words). She said we need to move forward (but where I ask). She said, "It can be worked out" "It will be worked out." And she promised to take an active role in the issue for a resolution. I need to say that Michael Brown was there as was Phil Mendelssohn. I don't thing either Phil or Michael spoke.
Actually, Michael Brown's van was sitting across the street in a spot where people normally never park. As was a few other vehicles, police and that of a few churches that came to show support. Churches such as Johnson Memorial Baptist (800 Ridge Rd, SE), and New Macedonia Baptist Church (4115 Alabama SE) parked across the park. Nearby were the church buses of New Spartan Baptist (1100 Florida Ave NE) and First Rising Mt. Zion Baptist (600 N St NW). There were at least 3 large tour buses that picked folks up as well. So take note, if need be churches can rally together.
The lemons I allude to in the title is the parking problem. The lemonade, or the makings of lemonade, is the desire I heard of coming together for real social justice issues. Some acknowledged the difficulties in coming together for AIDS and homelessness and that it has taken a few parking tickets to bring them together.
What I did not hear a lot of what the idea that double parking was some sort of right to be defended. The right to remain in the city, the right to worship, the need to be included in the discussion, the city's needing the churches, that I heard. I think they know that double parking will end, but they are going to hold it off as much as possible. One pastor said he had spoken with the mayor and there will be a 4 month suspension of the parking enforcement. He did concede that it is not the solution and they will work with the residential community.
They asked the crowd to contact Carol Schwartz. Please note the churches I mentioned earlier are DC churches in areas I'm going to bet there are more residents attending than suburbanites, so don't underestimate their political pull. Anyway, Carol Schwartz, member at large, chairs the Committee of Public Works and the Environment which oversees the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Transportation. I notice from Schwartz's website that Jim Graham, Adrian Fenty, Kwame Brown and former Mayor Marion Barry also sit on this committee.
Hopefully churches in the area can come together for actual social justice issues such as homelessness, social welfare, AIDS, and the like. And I know this will be worked out, it is just a matter of when and how. And I once again suggest, public transportation (U Street, Shaw, Mt. Vernon Sq., and a bunch of buses).


At 4/24/2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Truxtonian said...

This is getting ridiculous. A quote from the WashTimes article on it:

"Jared Leland, a lawyer with the Becket Fund, said the organization plans to oppose the parking enforcement on legal grounds. 'The law shouldn't be applied in a way that unfairly burdens churches,' he said. 'This double-parking law is unconstitutional because it puts an unfair burden on the religious institution.'

Right... what I can't wait for is for all the synagogues, mosques, other churches and some the hair-brained quasi religious groups to start claiming that their parishioners don't have to follow parking laws. Or any DC laws for that matter. Next, parents of students at parochial schools will claim they can ignore DC laws, when they inconvenience them, because their kid goes to a religious institution. What a load of crap. Laws are for everyone to follow. A ten minute walk to church or a shuttle bus ride is not too much of a burden.

What irritates me the most is that the politicians jockeying for office are entertaining the "religious freedom" arguments, rather than actually approaching the issue like they should, as elected officials charged with representing residents of the District.

At 4/24/2006 1:22 PM, Anonymous Herb said...

Yes it is sad that no politician will come out and say " Huh? This isn't about religious freedom!"

I sent an email to both the Cropp and Fenty mayoral campaigns asking for their stance on the role of the mayor in enforcing DC laws. It will be interesting to see the reply I get.

At 4/24/2006 8:57 PM, Anonymous terrance said...

Sorry, but I'm not sure I entirely buy "the District needs the churches." At least not all of them. But I'm a little bitter.

I lived on Vermont Ave. just north of Logan Circle for five years, up until a year ago. The weekend in our new house we were blocked in for about four hours in the afternoon. I remember one neighbor sitting on top of her car, camping out until she and it were finally liberated. We were blocked in again on new year's eve, but were fortunate in that we could get an usher to either locate the owner and move the car.

There is no right to double park. The District may need the churches that actual residents of the District actually attend. In my old neighborhood, as we carefully drove down streets doubled parked on both sides, I remember seeing more Maryland and Virginia license plates than any from D.C.

Fortunately, I live in Maryland now, where churches have ample parking lots to serve their members. Maybe the D.C. churches with few, if any, members in the District should consider moving closer to their members.

At 4/25/2006 10:21 AM, Anonymous ZZ said...

It seems to me that part of the solution lies in the emans of 'coming together' - if the churches have buses to bring people to this rally, why not use thme to shuttle members from off-site (off-street) parking on Sundays?

At 4/26/2006 1:17 AM, Anonymous Samm Coleman said...

Hello Loganites,
I'm a member of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church at 1306 Vermont Ave. I don't know if any residents in that block were complaining about the double parking, but I can say that we at mount Olivet, do understand the problem and we do double park on Sundays. We changed our service to 10am, hoping most folks weren't trying to get out much before noon. We also put little cards in our windows so the residents know it's us and can (I know it may be inconvienent) come and move the offending car so the resident can get out. Every Sunday about 4 people do come and we go move our cars. I'm not understanding why these other people are so rude to their residents. You don't park, where ther is a sign that clearly states private property, you don't tell a resident you can park where ever you want, excuse my french, but you move your damned car with a smile and a good day to the person. I'm so pissed that there are people that can't just be a little curteous. I also read somewhere that this doesn't happen in other areas, not so, try parking in front of your house on a Sunday from 49th St. SE to 53rd st. on East Capitol St. No Way! My mom lives in the 5200 block and when I pick her up to bring her to your neighborhood, I have to sit just below a blind hill for her to come out of the house. So it does happen in other neighborhoods, but these people north of Logan are really rude, and then they call themselves Christians. A couple of those churches even sold property that could have been used for parking, I guess their GOD is the dollar and not parking for their congregations. I do want to apologize for the rude behavior of those other people. I've heard comments about race, religion,rights, sexual preferences... it's just as I said, common curtesy for another human being. My mother taught me better. Parking is a priviledge, not a right, I hope some of them wake up soon.
Thanks for allowing my two cents worth. Oh yes and you are all welcome to worship with us anytime.

At 4/26/2006 8:10 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Samm thank you for your comment. I think I have been to your church (it's the one with the statue in front right?) for services and I believe LCCA meetings.
Also it is very good to hear another Christian on this topic pointing out that this particular rudeness, and that there are other churches that are trying to be more responsible and good neighbors. Other churches have parking lots, educate their parishoners about parking, encourage use of public transit, have valet services and have taken in account that parking is the churches' responsiblity, not the city's. Also it may take other Christians to correct these wayward church folk to point out that this is not acceptable Christian behavior.
Yes, parking, driving, almost anything car related, is a privilege not a right.


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