S*H*A*W* M*A*S*H* (the In Shaw version)
Life goes on though.
The day care co-op plays in the rear of the Kennedy Rec Center.
Young men sit at the corner of 7th & O, yards away from the checkpoint.
People with medical/ mental/ ??? issues walk down 7th.
And I explored the maze of pedestrian options in alleys, parking lots and walkways between 6th & 7th. It might also be an option with a Smart Car
Greetings from the free and liberating part of Shaw, Truxton Circle. Pretty much a block or two away from the Convention Center nothing looks different. Well except for police loitering over at Dunbar or in the park across from the Safeway.
I walked around. Ran some errands. The register was down at the 5th St Hardware and I think I saw Michelle Rhee walking out the Safeway with her assistant/ aide/ some random guy pushing her cart. 5th Street is normal. 6th Street appears to have the 70 bus running down it. Military vehicles block 7th and 9th and a tiny portion of 8th for one level of security. The G2 seems to be running normal on P, and taxis were running up and down O. I was able to walk by the Humvees and military personnel towards the checkpoints without showing any ID. The sidewalk is blocked off at 7th and O on both sides and I didn't test whether ID required to walk to the front door of 1330 7th St. Little matter as you can get to their parking lot from the rear.
I spoke with one resident living in the militarized zone and he pretty much had a good spirit about it all. Of course he complained about the set up noise and the helicopters flying overhead kept him up at night. Also he's happy he's parked in just the right space where it is close enough, but doesn't require the military to unblock his way.
Also I noticed on my walk, some hangerouters moved to sitting in cars and throwing chicken bones out of open windows. I nearly got hit by a bone. The grocery stores were busy. Azi's didn't look busy. But it was 11 something and one guy in there. I don't know how busy they are normally.
Some others have reported on the security around the area. Such as Economic Policy Journal
looking more at the south end. The BAANC blog editor worries about fire safety
. CCCA has a clever SHAW MASH
post but I'm guessing the military medical vehicle wasn't sitting in front of Kennedy when the Prez was out there. Cause that would have been a good picture. Maybe I should walk out again (I forgot something at the store) and take a picture of it.
Labels: government, quality of life
Where’s Cato when you need them?
So they are closing the area around the Convention Center. Ok.
They are closing the streets to cars.
They are restricting parking.
They are fencing the streets surrounding the Center and restricting resident and pedestrian access.
Oh, no. That’s sounds like someone’s 4th Amemdment rights
are going to get violated!
I do hope residents do get a lawyer because it just seems to me that their American right to move freely and access their homes, entertain guests will be violated for 48 (or more) hours. And though some of you would gladly give up your Constitutional rights for any length of time for the shiny beads of security, nobody should be forced to have to carry around ID just so they can go home. Seriously, if events like this require this level of security, they really should have it somewhere in West Virginia or Camp David or somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.
Today it’s the residents of Mt. Vernon Sq for 48 hours, the next day it may be a few weeks for the residents of Trinidad
….. oh, never mind.
Addition- Looking around I came across Flex Your Rights
when trying fond info on what citizens can do regarding police barricades around their homes.
Labels: drama, government
Post Office on Chopping Block
PoP already posted
this some time ago about the LeDriot Post Office
, that thing that sits between New Jersey, Florida and Rhode Island Avenues. Yes, it isn't open on weekends, it closes at 5pm M-F, and it is terribly small. Regardless, it is the one place where I buy my stamps and send off books I'm selling (Half.Com). I guess a letter to Eleanor Holmes Norton
is in order. I know the Postal Service is hurting for money, but when the Fed-Ex and UPS has more outlets with convient hours, it may be the easier choice when deciding how to mail off packages. And that does not make USPS more profitable.
Anyone know anything about this bill
Today around noon the DC Council is looking at the "Human Rights for Ex-Offenders Amendment Act of 2009”, Bill 18-0136
. According to the Council's agenda it is:
To amend the Human Rights Act of 1977 to prohibit employment, housing, and educational discrimination based upon arrest record, or conviction record, with certain exceptions based on the relationship of the arrest or conviction to the position sought, lack of knowledge of the conviction, reliance upon an authorized certification, a record of violent crimes, or positions specifically exempt.
The DCGOP is looking at it from an employer standpoint. I'm comcerned about it from a residential and landlord standpoint, as I know several people who rent out their basement apartments, and when they bother to do a background check past criminal activity is one of those things. I believe it should be at the owners descretion.
Why I don't support the bag tax
Because this weekend I discovered farmers market strawberries and an iPhone don't mix in a bag. The theory is that we should carry our canvas bags, and my main bag is a canvas bag. However, not all my groceries and purchases play well together or with the thing occupying the bag, and when my phone decided to be one wonderfully designed brick for 24 hours after sharing a bag with strawberries, I wondered how this new well intentioned law passed by the DC Council will work out in practice.
Yes, I wasn't for it before the iPhone- Strawberry incident, mainly because the law includes paper bags and I wondered how it would impact pet poop pickup. I wasn't aware paper bags were clogging up the waterways, so I question the logic of including paper bags which are recyclable, compostable, and good for boxes to be mailed. Seriously, taxing PAPER!?
Back to my bag.... I do have several canvas and other totes. And I do try to avoid getting a bag for small purchases. The $.05 credit I'm supposed to get doesn't always get credited when I forgo the bag, I wonder if the charge will be levied regardless? Other problems include the fact that the bag has a limited amount of room, and it doesn't help that I'm carrying around other things in it. Even when I have an extra plastic bag in my tote, that bag has been used and reused for lunch and more than likely is busy holding plastic lunch containers.
My first job was cashier at the Winn-Dixie and there I was taught proper bagging. Part of the lesson was certain things weren't supposed to go in the same bag. Detergents, shampoos, soaps, paper (birthday cards, magazines) and the like, don't go in the same bag as food, like milk, loose veggies and fruits, seafood, and deli items. Apparently the veggie bags and paper pastry bags will be tax free, so maybe there will be a greater use of those.
It will be interesting to see what human behavior results from all this.
Carter G Woodson, and a broke agency
Yesterday was a nice activity filled day. Did some gardening in the morning. In the afternoon got some dancing in at the Afro-American Civil War Memorial as part of DCLX
. Lastly there was a meetup with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and some other local bloggers. My hearing is bad because of the background noise at the coffee shop I didn't make out all that she said.
A topic of interest was the National Park Service and parks. Park-parks, with open space and stuff. However I asked about the NPS and the Carter G. Woodson house on 9th St. The short answer was the NPS did well enough to get the money to buy the Woodson house and the adjoining houses. They don't have any money to do anything else.
Labels: government, real estate
This morning I had in mind to write one thing but read in today's Washington Post "D.C.'s Past Is Prologue,
" about the Historical Society of Washington D.C. over on Mt. Vernon Sq. Reading the article I'm a bit concerned about the paragraph:
Thomas said he envisions a place where more records could be archived, such as papers from neighborhood associations -- and that could increase the annual line item. The society's supporters are suggesting an appropriation of $2.5 million to $4 million.
I have no problem with the city supporting and funding some of the Historical Society's functions, but I'm concerned about what this would mean for the DC Archives (Naylor Ct) and the Washingtonia Division at the Martin Luther King Library (Gallery Place), both under the DC government's jurisdiction. Does it mean the problems of the DC Archives can be ignored?
The article also says the Historical Society tells the city's non federal stories and "the King public library and the Jewish Historical Society... have archives, theirs are more specialized." When the author writes the "King public library" can I assume that's the Washingtonia division at the MLK? And if so, what exactly is it's speciality that makes it so different from the Historical Society's archives? More printed and published material at the MLK? A better set of census microfilms at the MLK? Just for my own research I found a lot of overlap. With maps they and the Library of Congress overlap. The major differences were in quality of the document, ease and price of making duplicates, access, staffing and hours. However each repository has its own particular strengths that don't overlap. The Historical's on-line catalog makes it a superior resource as well as its fantastic photo collection. The Washingtonia's strength is that it gets down to the neighborhood level in organization and has a great library of published resources. But they both cover DC history.
Also DC history is all over the city. It's at the Historical Society, in the Washingtonia division of the MLK, the Library of Congress, George Washington University, Georgetown, Catholic, National Archives, and the DC Archives.
Labels: government, history, non-profits/advocates
2009 GS Pay
I know many of you are government drones, and even some of you are on the GS system. 2009 salary tables are out
. If I'm reading it right, it looks like I won't have to
have a roommate. I'll still seek one, but I can put the money towards the Mari wants maid service and maybe cable fund.
Chance of a sub-station in TC small
I keep forgetting (along with a bunch of other things) to mention a bit of information taken from the last BACA meeting. Though we really, really, really want a substation being so very far away from the main 5D station, it doesn't look likely. It was explained by Groomes, MPD that substations have to be manned and having officers inside manning stations means fewer officers outside patrolling streets. And something about other communities out their are clamoring for their own substations as well. We can keep fighting for one but it won't be an easy fight.
I do like the idea that Councilwoman Schwartz mentioned, of getting DC government offices out of expensive downtown rental space and into DC owned surplus buildings.... surplus buildings like the schools. Well after a substation, a government office (something on the bureaucratic lines, not anything providing services) would be something around my second or third choice.
Labels: BACA, government
Fun with Eleanor Holmes Norton
This weekend, I and several neighborhood bloggers were invited to talk with Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton
. From my notes the topics were the $5,000 DC tax credit for home buyers and businesses, development, the gun law, Home Rule, Homeland Security, how she got into her position and Union Station. Possibly before all the questions she did talk about how she wound up getting into it with Stephen Colbert
and how Colbert has helped the cause of DC voting rights. (See video
of Colbert honoring her for an award)
I asked the question about the tax break because I consider it part of a package that makes buying in DC more attractive than MD or NoVA. Ms. Norton talked about how that lovely tax credit
came to be in a GOP dominated Congress and how a tax credit was more appealing than asking for more money. As one who has taken that tax credit, I told her (later, after the Q&A ended) what it meant for me.
Though she cannot vote on the floor, Ms. Norton is in several committees where she can vote. She is the chair for the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management. Now what does that mean for neighborhoods? Well she did explain it, but I take crappy notes. Somehow it relates to the creation of places like NoMa, and it relates to being able to influence developers who do government and public/private development and encouraging positive development that helps the city grow. Grow and not be a dead urban center surrounded by suburbs where agencies (and there are a lot out there in Langley, Beltsville, Bethesda, etc) flee.
Anyway, it was a good exchange.
Labels: government, politics
Screw the children
I dedicate this posting to B. who gleefully gave me this title.
B. and I just stepped out of this month's BACA meeting. He was happily recounting part of the meeting where a woman claimed that there really weren't that many children in the community. Recounting this, as we watched about 3 kids from our street horsing around on the other side of the street.
A couple of things were brought up in the meeting that I'm going to touch on, community, and community services.
Community. Who are we talking about? I live here am I part of the community? When we, city employees, politicians talk about the community, are they talking about the community as a whole, certain parts, what? This is important because the city wants to (trys to) serve the community.
Which brings me to city services. It may have been the same woman who said there weren't any children around needing services, who pointed out that no one in the room at the meeting needed drug councilling, or job training, or shelter, or housing services, mental health services, or any of the 'community services' that the young mayor's rep was mentioning. The problem is the city will never offer me any direct
services I will ever use in my neighborhood. Of the neighbors I associate most with, neither will they. They probably won't put their kids in city aftercare, or send their kids to existing rec centers, and they sure as heck don't go to the regular public schools. The only housing help I'll take from the city (that I haven't gotten already with the 1st time homebuyer prgs) is the homestead exemption.
Indirectly, the services are to benefit me by supposedly taking care of problem people , and if the people with problems are served then crime would go down, which serves me. The problem is that the people who use those services aren't represented at the meetings. Most who attend meetings have little firsthand knowledge of the programs, which then makes me wonder about adequate feedback for the city. Also since there is no direct participation, I wonder how hard would those of us in the community who are more politically involved (the letter writers, meeting attenders, etc) will fight for these community programs/ dollars, as compared to areas of the city.
Lastly, I want to write about what I'm not saying in this. I'm not saying there aren't any city services that can't help me and others in my neighborhood. Good functional libraries with active reading/ storybook programs, popular books available, comfortable reading areas, and available internet terminals would be nice. I know I ain't gonna get it, but it would be nice. And there are things the city and some local politicians do beyond regular services and problem targeting, that positivity impact my quality of life, such as business promotion, providing mulch, and co-sponsoring events.
I'd guess I'd be more gung ho for programs for children if I actually believed the kids on my street and the other neighborhood kids I know would actually use them.
Labels: BACA, city services, government
Friday grab bag
Brian of OffSeventh retires from blogging
. He had a good run. I understand it, as you may know my co-blogger Truxtonian no longer posts. Back when I did bother to bug T. and ask him to post something, he said he didn't want to post angry. Understandable. There are things that make me want to quit too. However, I'm clinging to the idea of 'it's my blog, I'll post whatever the hell I feel like.' Which means not posting a lot of things, because I don't wanna, and I don't feel like it. And posting somewhat neighborhood related stuff that I care about right now, like houses, gardening, new businesses opening up. Next week it might be alley cats, some history related item, and "dude, where's my trash bin?" InShaw exists for my entertainment, when I cease to be entertained, so will the blog.
Yesterday, I wandered over to the courthouse after work to try to figure out how to legally get my name changed. I've been noticing that ever since 9-11 it's been harder to get people/ agencies/ companies to go along with the first initial, middle name, last name style I've been using since high school. There is a new ID I have to get as a federal drone that won't/ can't let me go by my middle name. So, I have to legally change my name, to my name. Sadly, I found the DC Court website
, not as helpful as I would have liked. I was able to find one of the name change forms, but no fee schedule ($60 for what I want), or what ID I needed (birth certificate, passport, etc), or the other forms needed.
So I walked over to find the main entrance blocked off and the Chief of Police standing in front of a bunch of local reporters. Someone was nice enough to point out the downstairs entrance that I didn't know about. Apparently someone fell from the 3rd floor
. The chatter in the elevators was that it was suicide.
I got my forms and my info and now I got to find my birth certificate, a newspaper with legal notice fees that aren't high, and $60 bucks.
Lastly, Mrs. Gibbs house, at 1626 3rd St NW is back on the market. Rumor had it that Mt. Sinai, which owns a few properties along the 1600 block of 3rd was talking with the family. Guess that fell through, if it was true. So 1626 & 1628 are on the market for a combined price of $635K if someone wanted both. Another thing I noticed was 1620 4th St
. dropped its price again, and is $250,000, down from its original price of $390K. The taxable land value is $223K, so I guess the structure is almost worthless.
Labels: blog, government
There is nothing like a common threat to bring folks together
Under normal circumstances those of us in the room regarding what to JF Cook are disagreeing over the name of the neighborhood (or avoiding the naming fight altogether). However, last we were pretty much united against the idea of a food and clothing distribution and a city wide job training center. And strongly for a police substation, early child development and youth services/recreation.
Sadly, the MM Washington and JF Cook discussions were in separate rooms, despite the fact that the two schools are right next door to each other, so the same set of neighbors are impacted by what happens at either school. Our great BACA leader Jim Berry was there and later went to the next room where I guess he expressed the same background and concerns regarding the neighborhood, and the history of surplussed schools such as Armstrong. So, I have no idea what went on in the next room.
I can say what happened in the Cook room. There were several ideas about what the school could serve as in the interim and long term. The two ideas that got the room riled up came from two individuals who were pushing for services for the homeless and the nearly homeless. Because of the schools' proximity to S.O.M.E. and the residents' rocky relationship with the non-profit (and other near by social services) as a neighborhood entity, there was an uproar. It did not help those individuals' case when they opposed the idea of moving the early child development from Slater to Cook and opposed the police substation idea. There was a lot of people talking over each other and the Planning Office representative looked like he was on the edge of losing his temper with the group.
If you missed this meeting there is a follow up April 10th at I guess the same time 6ish, at McKinley Tech's Auditorium. But really, as someone mentioned, since these impact the local neighborhood these feedback sessions should be presented at the ANC meetings and to the civic groups.
Labels: government, schools
More on the empty schools
From the Truxton Discussion Forum:
Please see this idea from Jim Berry:
Please consider . . . the idea of making JF Cook School a police substation, the site of office space for ANC 5C and, perhaps, other appropriate community uses, as well as the idea of encouraging an Arts emphasis for the future use of MM Washington, should it eventually close. I think it safe to assume that none of us wants the buildings that now house JF Cook School and MM Washington to go the way of the former John Mercer Langston Elementary School or the former Armstrong Adult Education Center buildings -- essentially, abandoned by the city and languishing in our community as an attractive nuisance for drug dealers and users, homeless persons, and the like.
As for MM Washington... one possibility might be to turn it into a place for artists -- an idea that was floated by the local government and one which we endorsed, I believe, in the late 1980's/early 1990's. At the time, O Street, N.W. and Hanover Place, N.W. were already budding hubs for this kind of activity. Perhaps we could revisit some of those ideas. Also, we could give artists special consideration to locate their businesses there and require them to hold classes for interested children and adults, in return for that consideration.
I love the idea of artists studios. There are artists studios already in the hood and the more the merrier. What I would love is something linking the artists areas in the TC so we have this spot over in southeast Truxton for art professionals and amateurs. Excellent idea Jim.
As far as the substation at Cook... Sure, as long as the building can share with offices.
Labels: government, schools
What to do about empty schools
There will be a meeting (isn't there always a meeting about anything around here?) March 20th for Ward 5 from 6-8pm at McKinley Technology High School about reuse of school buildings like JF Cook (as seen in pix); Backus; Taft; Slowe; MM Washington and Young.
If nothing else pops up on my after work calendar (like another meeting for something else or emergency hair appointment) I'll probably attend. I have some ideas of what I'd like the two closing schools in the TC to be:
Not residential housing- Takes too long, requires too many committees, red tape, and people get all huffy when it's not affordable or it's not luxury.
Office Space.... for a non-social services branch of DC govt- I can't imagine it would take too much work to replace small desks with cubicles. I say non-social services 'cause folks get annoyed with the non-profit social service orgs around here and get into a tizzy when another one pops up (SOME and group houses).
Office Space-non-profits (non-social services)- for the same reasons stated above. However, it would require hoops and other pieces of red tape.
My main interest is finding someone, something that could move into Cooke or MM Washington as soon as the kids clear out. As when the city mothballs these buildings they allow for their slow destruction. The longer they are mothballed the more likely they will look like Langston or Armstrong and become de facto homeless shelters and crack ho bordellos.
Labels: government, schools
Useful tool? Good Government?
While on vacation, I did watch the news so yes, I'm aware of certain big national stories. However, I didn't care. What did catch my eye was something the town of Winter Garden, FL was doing which made me wonder if DC is doing something similar, and if not, why not.
What the City of Winter Garden has is a website
showing commercial properties available for lease or sale. Then when you find a property, it gives you the selling price, the lease per sq ft, and the contact agent should you actually want to set up shop. The demographic information is possibly where the city mixes in it's info by showing what certain (I'm talking very specific like "Medical transcriptionists") occupations make per hour and annually, where other businesses are in relation to the location you are looking at, and how much money per household and per $000s was spent on things like "Women's Apparel" in a certain mile radius.
When I heard of that I thought, that would be great for parts of DC that need to attract businesses, like North Cap. However, that would require sharing information with the public, being pro-business, working with private entities, and pro-active. Yet considering that the District can be sloppy with information, anti-small business, and stubborn as a mule against change, I highly doubt the City would provide a tool like Winter Garden's that would inspire someone to open that small boutique or that dentist's office, or some other small business by seeing how much particular skilled labor and space will run them.
Another thing, looking at the long list of Winter Garden occupations and their average wages and salaries, got me to thinking about how that may be helpful for job seekers and people trying to become more valuable as workers. So not only would the tool help potential employers but employees as well.
Labels: business, development, government
Info Government May Provide
During one of the usual weekend calls I have with my mother, my mom was complaining once again about her property tax. Without getting too detailed, my parents divorced but Dad's name is still on the land, and thus, Mom says her homestead exemption is not as great as it could be. So the other day I wandered over to her Florida county tax assessor's website
, which is embarrassingly amateur looking, to see exactly how Mom's getting taxed.
I wasn't expecting much, maybe just an assessment pulled out of thin air. What I got blew me away. I got the usual, the assessor's idea of property worth, the homestead exemption, the tax, and a general description of the property. In addition, there were links to vital records like my parent's divorce judgement. Clicking around, for other properties, there were links to PDF copies of death certificates
(with SS#s blacked out), quit claims
, certified titles, maps, tax deeds, and building permits issued if the documents were produced in the last 10 or so years. The public information about things relating to property was linked right on the assessor's page.
This made me wonder, could larger cities have the same sort of traditionally public information (deaths, divorces, permits
, quit claims) available on line? Links to permits would be exceedingly useful. Not even the copy of a building permit, but just even the building permit number, date issued, would be very helpful. Right now I can only find permits issued in the last few months.
But I realize this is only a dream because it would mean different agencies actually working together to serve the citizenry.
Additional: I just dug deeper with the example permit, it shows the inspection
. I would kill for this depth of detail with permits issued in the city. No more trying to read tiny writing on a stair of a rickty house.
Labels: city services, government, real estate
Wondering How Much More The DC Tax Office Can Get Effed Up
Okay on top of shopping trips with embezzled funds, dead people getting senior discounts, and vacant houses not getting taxed right, add the possibility of identity theft as Tax Office computer servers found behind a chain restaurant
in Columbia Heights.
I'm thankful they were found, and I hope, really really hope, there isn't any individual taxpayer information on them.
Labels: government, taxes
Corruption ain't cute, even with a Hermes Scarf
I remember a couple conversations with some relocated New Orleans citizens who seemed to take a light hearted attitude regarding the corruption in their city/state. This was before the student activity fund and the tax office embezzlement news, and I state then as I say now, corruption will destroy the republic, so it ain't cute.
For one, I already pay enough in taxes, why on earth would I agree to higher taxes when I believe it is not only supporting schools, housing, roads, and someone's lunchtime shopping spree? There are many, many things that the government does that requires tax money but until there is a mass purging of the system I won't trust it. Calls for more funding will ring hallow until the city cleans house.
I'm not calling on Fenty to do the cleaning, I'm calling on all agency heads, make it part of making city services more open and accessible to the people. Unfortunately it is part of the city culture to obscure itself in cries of low staffing, outdated systems that make clarity impossible, and general incompetence.
Labels: crime, government
Musing thought: DC Should stay out of Real Estate
Not even going to touch the corruption in the Tax Office
, but I wonder if a public tarring and feathering, or stocks with rotten tomatoes provided to DC citizens for throwing would be too good....
Anyway, one of the other things brought up in the BACA meeting on Monday was government seizure of property (houses) that were unabated nuisances. Someone pointed out that when the DC government then takes ownership of a property that doesn't improve matters. The theory is that the city takes over the property and some competent 3rd party, usually a socially acceptable non-profit, will take over and fix up the property (because they usually need work), sell it or grant it to some deserving family, the end.
But the theory doesn't always work. Sometimes the city just holds on to the property for-like-ever letting it rot from the inside out as vagrants or stray cats use it, occasionally coming by to mow the lawns. Or it does get into a partnership with a nonprofit, and some of them actually get to work and fix up the properties so they are fit for human habitation. And then there are others who can't get their act together and the house just sits, and rots from the inside out. Or they take their sweet molasses in winter time to fix up the property. Also there is perfectly innocent crap that just happens, like running out of money.
Just selling it off offers no promises either. Buyers could just sit on property like investors have done and continue to do.
So the next time someone comes up with the brilliant idea that the city or government should take ownership of property, know that it sounds great in theory but in years of practice, sucks.
Ye shall know them by their works, or lack thereof.
Labels: government, real estate
If you're a GS-5 step 1, you're poor
Argue with me if you want but a MA in History is one of the most useless graduate degrees out there because my first job out of grad school was a GS-5 step 1 Museum Technician job (bathrooms, down the stairs and to the left). Looking at the AMI link
from a posting on the ANC2C02 blog clarifying affordable housing
and the locality pay schedule
for the DC metro region from the largest employer, GS-5/1 are a tad below 50% of the AMI (Area Median Income) for single households. You hit 50% at step 4. I'm not criticizing Uncle Sam's wages. No, my then $19K (1995-96) salary and living in a shared apartment barely being able to pay back my student loans for 2 years inspired me to go back to grad school and get a practical degree.
Now I know non-profit people, just starting out, with their bright new shiny BAs and BSs or whathave you, get paid jack because just working for the cause is payment enough. Besides, more where they came from when one set gets jaded. Anyway, when I did once non-scientifically compare salaries with newbie non-profit people, they were also below or around 50% of the AMI. In time this changes. You get experience, pick up some valuable skills, get older, get/apply for something else in the org or at another nonprofit or association, go back to school, something, and you start moving into the 60%-80%-100% range. Or you move back to Wisconsin or Minnesota, one of those things.
Labels: government, housing
For work, I'm trying to get a better understanding of Home Rule. Not the cool store on 14th, but the District of Columbia getting more control over local functions that were run/directed by the Federal government. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Reorganization Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-198, 93rd Congress, S. 1435, 12/24/1973) was the thing that gave us Home Rule. Home Rule as in getting a city elected mayor (before, they were appointed) and city council. Also in the period of Home Rule we got our beloved Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in 1975, boundaries established and the system started in 1975, ANCs got elected the following year.
Though I'm not seeing a direct 1 to 1, it seems that ANCs replaced the old civic/citizen association role. The civic/citizen associations were the neighborhood level (there were also block groups, but that's too small) advocacy groups.
"Civic groups vie with neighborhood commissions" Washington Post, Walterene Swanston: Jul 21, 1977. (p. DC-6)
Labels: ANC, government, history
Letter writing campaign to help history
Got a letter in my email box that I'd like to share with you. The Historical Society of Washington operates the archive/library that I find useful in doing neighborhood research so that's why it is slightly applicable to InShaw. Also they hold some photographs of neighborhood streets, not just the ritzy addresses, but mine. If you are interested in researching your house or your street, I suggest paying them a visit.
BREAKING NEWS: As many of you read in today’s Washington Post, the City Council yesterday voted to wipe out $500,000 in funding promised to HSW in the coming fiscal year. Council members say they do not understand what it is we do here at HSW and why it matters so much. Click Here for full post
We hope you can help us by telling D.C. Council why HSW matters to you.
ACTION: Please call or write or email the members who represent you – from your ward AND the at-large members elected citywide - and tell them why HSW matters to you. Council contact information is listed below. If you are willing to share your communications with us, please copy us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax 202.383.1870.
If you have questions or comments for us, please contact me. My direct line is 202.383.1810, and email clement at historydc.org.
D.C. history matters. We need to say this to our Council – we need your help.
All Council mailing addresses are: 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, 20004
Ward 1 – Jim Graham, Suite 105; Phone 202-724-8181; Fax: 202-724-8109; Email: email@example.com
Ward 2 - Jack Evans, Room 106; Phone: 202-724-8058; Fax: 202-724-8023; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 3 - Mary Cheh, Suite 108; Phone: 202-724-8062; Fax: 202-724-8118; Email: email@example.com
Ward 4 - Muriel Bowser, Suite 406; Phone: 202-724-8052; Email:Mbowser@dccouncil.us
Ward 5- Harry Thomas, Jr., Suite 107; Phone: 202-724-8028; Fax: 202-724-8076; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 6- Tommy Wells, Suite 408; Phone: 202-724-8072; Fax: 202-724-8054; Email: email@example.com
Ward 7- Yvette Alexander, Suite 400; Phone: 202-724-8068; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ward 8- Marion Barry, Suite 102; Phone: 202-724-8045; Fax: 202-724-8055; Email: email@example.com
At-Large: Carol Schwartz, Suite 404; Phone: 202-724-8105; Fax: 202-724-8071; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At-Large: David Catania, Suite 110; Phone: 202-724-7772; Fax: 202-724-8087; Email: email@example.com
At-Large: Phil Mendelson, Suite 402; Phone: 202-724-8064; Fax: 202-724-8099; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At-Large: Kwame Brown, Suite 506; Phone: 202-724-8174; Fax: 202-724-8156; Email: email@example.com
Chair: Vincent Gray, Suite 506; Phone: 202-724-8068; Fax: 202-724-8097; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: government, neighborhood history
B is for Building permit
Well I got one friggin expensive building permit in my hot little hands. Two percent of labor plus $30. Not good when you guessed high on construction costs.
It wasn't that bad, but not that good. I'm still reeling over the sticker shock. I was thinking it might cost $200 maybe $300 dollars in all. Nope. More. Considering some of the tales I've heard about the permit process I guess I should just shut up about the price and be happy.
DCRA has a section for homeowners
to deal with permits. It took three visits, mainly because I had no clue. First visit, I really didn't have my drawings all right. I drew only part of the house, apparently, I needed to draw the whole house. And I needed to draw in the electrical, the mechanical and the plumbing and the drawings have to be bigger than your standard 8x11 piece of paper. I got the vibe that they would have really preferred if I had real architectural drawings drawn by a real live architect or other building professional with a clue. Not my equivalent of a random idea drawn on the back of a cocktail napkin.
So I go back home, and ask IT for help. He was kind enough to try to give me a crash course in architecture. Three years of architecture school boiled down to an hour or two, but just the diagrams-good-enough-for-the-permit-office part. Have I ever mentioned what a great guy, a great neighbor, IT is?
Anyway, I get some larger lined graph paper. Redraw my house, all floors, with everything. I have diagrams showing the house as it is now, the house as I hope it will be, diagrams to show plugs and lights and some other drawings to show how many things in the house use the pipes. I made copies at Kinkos, because the drawings can't be in pencil, and I go back to the Homeowner's Center. The guy checking the diagrams and my permit application, pointed out that some things were missing/ not to code, etc. He was nice enough to hint at what I needed to do to make it fit code, keyword, hint
. 'X' needed to be fixed, well now I know that X was wrong and needs fixing, but it's up to me to figure out how to make X fit code.
So back to the drawing board. I fix X and some other stuff that I noticed he missed. Then back to Kinkos for three copies. Then over to DCRA. After about what seems to have been an hour of questions about my diagrams, my application, and what I was planning to do, I got a permit.ADDENDUM
I believe and I really wasn't paying that much attention but on the door of the Homeowner's Service Center was a 8X11 sign saying that they did not handle properties in Historic Districts. There are other things the office does not deal with. Porches. I was told early on that if I wanted a permit to improve my stairs, which work but need to be a foot bigger, I'd have to deal with public space since your front yard is not your front yard, it's public space. Except when there is a problem with water pipes, and WASA tells you that the land in front of your house is yours. So the porch falls under, stuff to do if I have any money left.
There is a PDF file
DCRA has charting where some jobs fall in the system and what can go through the Homeowner's Center. The Homeowner's Center's goal is to serve within 2 visits. I might have been able to do 2 visits if I had some clue about building codes, and had complete plans.
Labels: government, renovation
DC Feds go home. Government is closed according to WJLA and Fox 5. I would have checked OPM but it wouldn't load.
I'm going home to a nice warm, warm house. I got the boiler yesterday from Contractor #1 installed and it churns out heat like a big heating thing.... Contractor #1 has now received many many brownie points.
Dang it, it's cold
My face froze.
That's what it felt like walking to the metro this morning. According to WAMU the weather with the wind chills feels like the teens or single digits.
In other weather related tales, from the Eckington Listserv:
The District of Columbia wants to help residents whose heat has been shut off, but it's having trouble finding them. That's because consumer protection laws prohibit utilities from turning over their addresses.
Without that key information, the city has been trying to pinpoint zip codes with a history of disconnections. Mayor Adrian Fenty has directed his staff to begin door-to-door visits of homes in those areas to let people know about utility assistance that's available from the government.
Terry Lynch, executive director of the Downtown Cluster of Congregations, says utilities told him that between 700 and 800 customers are likely without gas heat. Lynch made his inquiries after the death this month of 65-year-old Bessie Sanders. Her home caught fire because she had been burning candles after her utilities were shut off.
Information from: The (Washington) Examiner: http://www.dcexaminer.com
I don't have heat. Okay that's a lie. However, my furnace is still (after nearly a month) non-operational because of that blocked chimney thing. Don't worry, I discovered my basement maintains a temperature of about 50F no matter what I do. The "new" kitchen has electric radiant heat in the floor. When I'm home I just heat the room that I happen to be in, and not the whole house.
Usually when it gets cold I see the hotline number for the shelters for the homeless. I'm not seeing it but when it gets below freezing call the Hypothermia Hotline
at 1-800-535-7252 so those sleeping on the street will be offered a warmer alternative.
Labels: government, weather
Can DC workers make a suggestion?
I regret that I'm going to have to be vague because I really don't want to get this person in any more trouble than they already are, so bare with me. Say person X, let's call 'em Bob, works for a DC agency. Bob is a trained professional, and I belive certified to do what he does. Over time Bob discovers fraud. Not on the part of the DC govt or any of its workers but on the side of the people that he serves. Because of some loop holes in the rules and guidelines, non-DC citizens are getting benifits that are supposed to go to DC citizens. The agency and thus the city is failing to confirm that the people are DC residents.
I don't know if Bob suggested closing up the loophole to his superiors, which he should have done in the first place. What I do know is that Bob made mention of it in the Mayor's suggestion box
. Then the poop hit the fan.
I need a mini-can
I have a large supercan. With 1 or 2 people I tend to put the trash out maybe once a month or every 3 weeks. My alley is too small for the trash truck to come through and so my side of the street has to put the cans out on the sidewalk. Several of my neighbors have just taken to leaving the cans on the sidewalk. Which is "improper trash storage", but I'm not going there. No, I don't need a supercan. I need a mini-can. I spotted a few minicans in other neighborhoods, in front of houses with obviously no yard space. They are the size of the blue recycle cans. My recycle can goes to the curb more often than my supercan. My yard is too small for the supercan. My backyard could do without the hulking ugly that is my supercan. But am I willing to deal with DPW
to try to get a minican and be all different?
Labels: government, trash