Wednesday, January 31, 2007
As posted earlier this is the big Brown banner outside of Sweet Mango Cafe. I have, however, recieved an email from Candidate Lisa Bass telling me that she has arranged a banner of her own which should be displayed at Sweet Mango in March. So we'll just have to see. As for the Fenty sign that you can still see in the window: Isn't that the political equivalent of leaving up christmas decorations a little too long?
I was walking home this evening when I spotted an unusual sight. As you can see there was a Muriel Bowser sign right next to a Michael Brown sign. Curious. I wonder if the family is divided or if they just haven't made up their minds yet.
To preempt concern that I am only noticing Muriel Bowser and Michael Brown signs, I am happy to report that I spotted a Tony Towns sign and a Ms. Bass sign. I will be interviewing Ms. Bass soon so stay tuned?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I use Kilroys weekly and I really like it. Basically, the woman who works the afternoon / evening shift can be grumpy. Don't take it personally - I'll let them know about this post and hopefully she'll become a little friendlier?If you go in the morning Ryan (owner's son) and Ms. Vivian (works up front but has been away with health problems lately) are very, very friendly. They know me by name and are always extremely pleasant. Support Kilroys! Please don't let this one experience ruin it for you. We need decent businesses like this to thrive in Petworth.
I agree with Geoff! Morning trips to Kilroys are the way to go--It's actually a nice way to start the day (really). Ryan, Ms. Vivian and Ryan's Dad have been nothing but great to me and my pounds of clothes. I've had no problems with the dry cleaning quality and really appreciate when they go the extra mile--which they often do. Sorry you had the bad experience.
So I'll leave Kilroy cleaners with the fine words of a young Bob Dylan: "We never did too much talking anyway..." oh sorry I think I may have used that song already.
" I will not be reading your blog anymore. I suspect I won't be the only one. My opinion of your closed-mindedness is not based on this one post by you. It's your theme."
Holy cow, am I closed minded? I don't think my libertarian, homosexual, Peruvian dog would think so. We get along just fine despite our differences. But I guess I haven't blogged about that so how could DJ have known. What I find really funny is that he tells me he is not reading the blog anymore. As though this will really hurt me. He is like the type of person who cancels a magazine subscription when they write one story they disagree with. Well, P.o.P. is a free service with no advertising so I believe DJ is really just depriving himself. As a nihilist I can respect that.
So DJ, I'll leave you with the fine words of a young Bob Dylan "Goodbye is too good a word, so I'll just say farewell".
Sunday, January 28, 2007
By the by, I've really been enjoying the one exit at Petworth metro. I always felt there was a divide between folks who exited on the east or west side. Now that we all exit from the same side I feel a real unity. No more East/West divide, we are all Petworthians now!
I look forward to reading all about it. When it is up I'll post a link.
Friday, January 26, 2007
And this is great news for readers of this blog. Shortly, I will be adding pictures, and lots more links to my posts. So stay tuned...
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Has anyone else had an experience like this at Kilroy Cleaners on Upshur St? I'm still a little stunned. And I have a strong suspicion that I'm not going to get all my shirts back. Oh well, I'm going to see how the pick up goes, but if I recieve the same reception I'm afraid I'm going to have to go back to the dry cleaners in Cleveland Park and that makes me very sad.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Hi. Im a 50 year old DC resident ( and I currently reside in Brightwood-your neighbor to the North). I am also a black man. I read these blogs with interest, and, alas, sometimes with bewilderment and concern.. Like you (all)-I am frustrated when folks are so cavalier about , say, throwing trash on the street, but what does it mean when a fellow Petworth resident says things like ( and I paraphrase here)"things will improve as the neighborhood continues to change". Hmmmm. Now I know that good, progressive folks like to say that gentrification is about class, not race. But when the dust clears, who (largely) remains? The diversity folks claim to crave somehow disappears... It's a paradox, I think. Like the time I went to Domku and found myself the only black face in an otherwise black neighborhood. I wont be back. Enjoy, new DC residents. I aint (necessarily) mad at you. No more than I am mad at the kids tossing wrappers around.
Prince of Petworth said...
Reuben thank you for your comments I think they are very important. I'd like to address two points you make first gentrification and second Domku.
I'd like to be completely clear that I think the "neighborhood changing and improving" has to do with neighborhood pride, less crime, less garbage and more restaurants, bakeries, etc. This is not an attack on the current residents who as I have mentioned many times are the backbone of the community. Diversity is key and essential to Petworth's reputation and fortunes. I do consider myself progressive. And I think the emphasis our development has on affordable housing and mixed income rentals will help keep the neighborhood diverse. Also, many of the old time residents have homes that are purchased and in the clear. So I don't expect a mass migration of any sort. We need to work together to build a neighborhood that we all can be proud of.
Second, as far as Domku is concerned, one of the things I love about Domku is the diversity of its patrons. You have old people, young people, "hipsters", parents, babies, black and white. I believe that Domku does attract many of the "new" residents but that is not at the exclusion of the old residents. I'm sure the owner of the place would love all the business she can get. As for you never returning because you were the only black person there, I find that very sad. I think you should give Domku and the neighborhood restaurants another chance. I know for a fact that there have been many black patrons there. Anyone else have some thoughts?
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
Hmm, thank God the FBI doesn't use horses often in their line of work. Can you imagine a thug on a horse with a submachine gun? As reported earlier a horse resonded to my minor traffic accident and here in Petworth I've passed a cop on a horse a few times walking back from the metro. I like the horses, it has a bit of a Mardi Gras feel to it. So I guess a few stolen submachine guns isn't all that bad, could've been a lot worse...
"By that definition, Daily Kos would have to register with Congress and
then wear a yellow star or blue hat...Lock him up! Arbeit macht
Since when does being "snarky" allow one to trivialize the Holocaust? What's next a hilarious lynching joke? Maybe they'll follow up with a good rape joke. For those who don't know, Jews were forced to wear Yellow stars by the Nazis before and during the time they were placed in ghettos. Then, at many concentration camps (most famously Auschwitz) the gates would read "arbeit macht frei" which means work makes you free. Which was false hope. Oh yeah, 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Millions of others including homosexuals, political prisoners, gypsies and others were killed as well. Ha, a holocaust joke that is hilarious Wonkette.
The Holocaust is not a joke, not a punchline. First you make it a joke, then it becomes trivialized, then it becomes denied. Ha, ha, ha! That is a good one Wonkette. Wonkette is "snarky" and often funny and certainly quite influential in DC. Therefore, you have the responsibility to be better than that. And apologize.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
10. Ample parking
As previously noted we have great parking, period. For those who have lived in more congested areas they realize just how much of a pain in the ass that can be. For those who don't drive we have the metro now serviced my Green and (sometimes) Yellow lines.
9. Local Politicians
We have terrific ANC leaders (for the most part). For example my new ANC leader Kevin Hummons just distributed one badass newsletter. And based on all the interviews I've been doing, I'm pretty confident whoever wins is going to represent Petworth properly in the city council.
We have awesome residents who love trees and have planted Cherry blossom trees and others in the local parks. We also have that awesome tree in the middle of Grant circle.
Petworth is like a suburb in the city, we can enjoy the insanity of the city and then retire to our calm homes and maybe sip a beer on our porches. We are spitting distance (sometimes literally) from Columbia Heights, Wonderland Ballroom and all the development there. We are a stone's throw from the awesome U Street corridor. Or if you dig the Maryland thing we're not far from Maryland. To the west we are an apple's throw to Rock Creek Park and awesome hikes, and a little further west to the lovely Cleveland Park neighborhood. And if you dig the Hill we have North Capitol street to cruise on down to that neck of the woods.
6. Petworth News
Bill Crandall of Petworth News has done a terrific job keeping us up to date with all the goings on in Petworth. It looks like the Grant Circular is going to be a terrific addition in that vein as well.
5. Temperance Hall
One real sweet bar with whiskey and one hell of a vibe.
4. Positive Development
I for one am siked about the development coming on Georgia Ave. And of course I can't wait for the Mocha hut.
3. Old Soldiers and Sailors Home
Great golf and great people.
No list about Petworth would be complete without Domku. Domku and its owner Kera have been true trailblazers. They have brought us borscht and much more. They have brought us good eats, pool, darts, spectacular music and of course the passion to make a restaurant succeed on Upshur St. as well as having the perserverance and courage to continue to strive for its improvement.
1. The People
Petworth would be nothing without its people. Without sounding too sappy this means all its people. Its long term residents who could teach us a thing or two about Petworth, its new comers, and of course its children. Petworth may be "raggedy" but it is real. We don't have to be Georgetown. Hell, we don't want to be Georgetown. We are Petworth and those of us who live here knows exactly what that means.
So I'll continue to pick up garbage and bitch from time to time but please know that this bitching comes from love of the neighborhood. When I get in a bad mood I'll post the top ten worst reasons...
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
Muriel is a native Washingtonian and currently lives in Riggs Park. Muriel graduated high school from Elizabeth Seton and grew up in the neighborhood of North Michigan Park with her parents and five siblings. She noted that her father was one of the first ANC's ever elected. She attended Chatham College in Pittsburg, PA where she received a degree in history. She came back to Washington, DC where she worked for a couple of years in the private sector before receiving a Master's degree in public policy from American University in 2000. Muriel currently works for Montgomery County as the assistant director for the Silver Spring regional center. This center essentially focuses like a mini town hall representing 150,000 residents. Muriel believes that this experience will serve her well should she be elected to Washington's city council. Muriel made it clear that should she be elected she would completely devote her work to the city council. Muriel became an ANC member for Riggs Park in 2004. Muriel is perhaps best known as the Ward 4 Precinct Coordinator for the Fenty 2006 Mayoral Campaign. Muriel has received Mayor Fenty's endorsement.
Muriel had worked with then Councilman Fenty in her position as an ANC member of Riggs Park. She noted that they worked closely on a range of issues including a gas spill, development issues and bringing a new recreation center to the area. As Ward 4 coordinator for Fenty, Muriel was exposed to the entire Ward and all the issues it faces. She believes they work well together because they share similar leadership styles.
Muriel believes that this issue is important to all residents. "Where our schools go our city will go,” she explained. The fact that the city is not graduating half of our kids is a huge problem according to Muriel. She said that this is a fundamental problem that needs to be addressed. She believes that we now have a strong executive to work on this problem and she supports Fenty's plan for the schools. She believes it is extremely important that our kids graduate with the appropriate skills so that they can participate in the economy. She said that we need programs that are worthwhile to the kids. She believes that these programs should equip our kids with the requisite skills so that they can go right into the workforce. She also believes that there are greater socio economic factors at play. She firmly believes that we need to make sure that our schools attract a diverse student body. Ultimately the schools should attract students that could go to private schools but choose to go to our public schools.
Muriel believes that we need to face the known criminal activity currently in our communities. She continued, "We need focused efforts at removing the problems that we know exist." She believes there is a vicious circle at play whereby the criminals are arrested and go through the system quickly and then return to the community without any viable alternatives to distract them from returning to their crimes. By making opportunities available we can break the vicious cycle, she said. At the same time she believes that the police have a job to do. She is adamant that we cannot have drug dealers taking over our communities. Rather, she argues that the police need to become involved with the communities. She said "obviously, we need to see the police on the street and we need them to come to community meetings but the police need to be involved before the problems arise." If the police get involved in the community before the problems arise and participate in regular community gatherings then there will be a solid trust built, she explained. It is essential that the police get to know the residents so that the residents feel comfortable and trust the police should a problem arise, she explained. Muriel supports the use of police cameras but only as a tool that can help them do their job better. She was concerned that the cameras may simply push the criminal activity a few blocks away from the cameras.
Pride and ownership of the community is essential to battling this problem according to Muriel. She believes that we should take advantage of tools that exist like anti-littering campaigns but it is also up to local residents and community associations. She said, "If we see trash we should pick it up". However, we have to make sure that the city services are also doing their part. In particular she mentioned that the city needs to make sure that trashcans are emptied when overflowing and to make sure that other basic services are fulfilled. She explained how the issue of litter is actually quite important and cited the broken windows theory. She explained that if there is trash on the streets, then that may lead to people placing graffiti on walls, which could lead to greater crimes. She explained that if the issue of litter remains unchecked then the neighborhoods would continue to slide. "We have to draw the line", she said "and why not draw the line at litter." She believes there should be a zero tolerance policy toward litter. When pushed to explain how a zero tolerance policy would be implemented she advocated a marketing campaign. However, she reiterated that the city has to do its part so that residents know they are not alone in this battle.
Development on Georgia Avenue and the Old Soldiers and Sailors Home
Muriel would like to make sure that the residents have their say in what types of development occur. She believes that the office of planning has done a great job starting the process with their great streets program. Specific issues that need to be addressed are parking, public safety and litter. She encourages a strong monitoring process to ensure that these issues are addressed. When asked what she herself would like to see occur, Muriel mentioned that she would like to spend her dollars in DC. Therefore, she would like to see a sit down restaurant, a coffee shop, a grocery store, a hair salon, a dry cleaners but she explained that we need to make sure that we have entertainment for our seniors. She would like to see any development mixed to ensure that we can "eat, dine, shop, work and play." She believes that this type of development will continue to attract people to our neighborhoods. She did mention that this development should be sustainable to ensure that there are not adverse environmental effects.
When asked about the availability of green spaces to residents in the Old Soldiers home, Muriel explained that green space is important throughout the Ward. She said that we need to be creative to make sure each community not only has green space but also to ensure affordable housing. She said that affordable housing and green space are hard to quantify but they are invaluable. Regarding green space, Muriel explained that it was essential to have public spaces where our kids can play, where our pets can walk and where we can maintain our fitness. Furthermore, she said, these public spaces are vital to community development so that people can go outside and congregate. One way to achieve this goal is work closely with the adjacent affected communities like Ward 5.
Proposed Homeless Shelter move to Georgia Ave.
Muriel mentioned that she often hears that Ward 4 cares very much about those less fortunate but that Ward 4 is already shouldering its fair share. She believes these types of programs should be spread out throughout all the Wards. Therefore, she does not support the move.
Muriel explained that she heard of only two people that received her yard sign in error. In one case she explained that local neighborhood kids moved one of the signs. However, she was adamant that anyone who receives a yard sign in error could have it immediately removed. Furthermore, she will personally apologize to whomever this happens. But since she has only heard of two instances, she does not believe this is a big issue. She believes it is resolved.
Muriel is currently reading Barack Obama's Audacity of Hope.
Musically, Muriel is an intense Prince fan (ed note: Prince the musician not the Prince who is writing these words.) but she enjoys a wide range of music and is currently listening to Nina Simone.
Muriel doesn't get to see too many movies but is a big James Bond fan and is looking forward to seeing Dreamgirls and the Pursuit of Happyness.
Muriel Bowser is clearly one of the front-runners for this election with the support of Mayor Fenty. Like Fenty she is quite young and certainly brings a lot of passion to Ward 4 politics. She didn't seem to be pandering to issues of particular interest to Petworth residents. However, one of my concerns is that she didn't seem to have too many innovative or new ideas to address the standard problems facing our community. I do believe she has the passion and the intelligence to be a strong advocate for Ward 4. I only hope that her youth and relative inexperience will not affect her ability to work with the current council members.
If you would like to learn more you can visit her website at www.muriel4ward4.com
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Ok. Well, I think the fact that I had to stare and oggle at the officers and finally approach one with a fancy hat to ask what the hell was going on leads me to believe that they haven't yet accomplished the engaging customers part. Secondly, there didn't seem to be to much inspecting going on. Thirdly, when I actually got on the train the cops simply stuck their heads in for a second and turned around. The cops, of which I counted 15 and three dogs seemed to be grouped in threes having their own little conversations certainly not "engaging customers." Maybe they should bring a cop on a horse next time if they really want to make us feel safe.
Oh well, I guess I shouldn't complain. Cops work extremely long hours under less than optimal conditions and there are some very good ones out there. For the good ones I am grateful.
On a side note regarding MPD's new initiatives under Chief designate Lanier - I haven't seen any foot patrols yet. Have you?
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Ms. Bowser is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She left Philly in 1979 to attend Bryn Mawr College after which she attended law school in North Carolina and following that received an LLM from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Ms. Bowser arrived in Washington, DC in 1983 and has lived in Petworth since 1989. Ms. Bowser's career in DC began as a labor lawyer for the federal government. Currently and for the past 21 years Ms. Bowser has been an attorney for the United Food and Commercial workers International Union (UFCW). Ms. Bowser was proud to note that she is the only labor candidate in the race and is a member of the DC Statehood Green Party.
In her 20s Ms. Bowser volunteered for the first black elected official in Pennsylvania, Hardy Williams. In her capacity as a volunteer she mostly worked on housing issues for him. In her past Ms. Bowser has also been active in anti-apartheid causes and was an early supporter of the African National Congress. Closer to home in Washington, Ms. Bowser has twice served on the DC Commission on Human Rights. Additionally, this is her third term as an ANC 4D02 commisioner of which she was the chair in 2006. Ms. Bowser ran unsuccessfully for City Council against Adrian Fenty in 2000. Although she was proud to have taken 11% of the vote in that November election.
"We don't need to get rid of the school board to improve the schools." said Ms. Bowser. "We have to make sure that the money is going to the right places." explained Ms. Bowser. At this point Ms. Bowser rattled off a series of numbers and statistics which seemed pretty impressive to me but then again I am a simple person. Ms. Bowser was adamant that the current "per pupil formula" needed to change and currently acts as a drain on the public schools. "Children are not widgets" said Ms. Bowser. I don't really understand what the means but it seemed like a great quote. However Ms. Bowser did recount a story she had heard on one of her many walks in the neighborhood. She recounted the story of a parent of a student at Shepherd Elementary School, who said that each parent has to pay $500 a year and pay for the school's librarian and books. Ed note: as I am not working for the Washington Post, I haven't confirmed that fact. Nevertheless, Bowser explained that it was ridiculous for parents to be paying for these things while the city continues to add more schools. Ms. Bowser would work with the current school board to try and correct these problems. She prefers working with the current school board to Mayor Fenty's plan of taking over the schools. Ms. Bowser explained that the system set up in NYC which Fenty hopes to mirror has not even worked all that well. She noted that test scores had actually gone down in NYC. Ms. Bowser believes it is essential to prioritize the improvements needed to the DC public school system to put the money where it is most needed.
"You are not going to police your way out of these problems." said Ms. Bowser. She explained the role that DCRA plays in not addressing the litter issue. She believes the DCRA needs to be completely overhauled. She believes that the city puts its allegiance to the developers rather than to the individual residents. While Ms. Bowser does support community policing she believes the overall problems need to be tackled "Ward wide". She explained how many of the issues are interconnected. She suggests tackling transportation issues, alley issues, and others together. She believes with better organization it will put more pressure for positive change. She then went off on a bit of a tangent explaining that a lack of organization resulted in the loss of DC general and is "why we have a baseball stadium." She also explained the problems of the formula racetrack in North East near the RFK stadium which took place a few years ago.
"The comprehensive plan is so vague to me that we don't know where they are in the process." said Ms. Bowser. She believes that this development must improve the city. She believes that we "don't have to give anything away" because the developers want to be in the city. She feels that the community was prosper as well and that there is no reason to give away this valuable property. She believes we have to be in on the ground floor with regards to the Old Soldier's home development. Again she stressed the importance of unity here. She argues that there will be more power and influence if those who are interested in affordable housing, green space and safety all stick together and use one voice. This will result in more muscle to influence the development.
Potential Homeless Shelter move to Georgia Avenue
Ms. Bowser is not against the move to Georgia Avenue but does feel that it needs to be strictly monitored and policed to make sure that there isn't public loitering.
She would however like to see a moratorium on group homes in Ward 4. They need to be monitored as well to make sure that they adhere to regulations.
Ms. Bowser does believe that gentrification is a problem due to its affect on affordable housing. She feels that we need to make sure that the housing crisis doesn't become more severe as a result of gentrification. But she concluded that "people want people who are good neighbors.
Ms. Bowser is reading the Great American Job Scam by Greg Leroy and recently read a book about Ella Baker.
She listens to a lot of world music, African music and blues.
The last great film she saw was Hotel Rwanda although she enjoyed the Constant Gardner as well.
Ms. Bowser is clearly a passionate person who is willing to fight for residents of Ward 4, particularly those who are less advantaged. Meeting her was like running into a tornado. She speaks very quickly on a diverse area of topics. She was running up and down the stairs and answering telephone calls throughout our meeting. I was a little disturbed to see how much time she focused on issues that were not directly related to Ward 4 ie the baseball stadium and DC general hospital. But back to the brass tax, Ms. Bowser is smart, experienced and full of ideas.
If you are interested in learning more you can visit her website at www.RENEEbowser.org.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
1) Increase engagement of officers with the community
2) Increase visibility within community
1) "Adopt a block/park" - full court press effort for officers to become familiar with every resident on a block or area, to include distribution of officer contact information, working with them on issues with their block (to include issues like trash and abandoned car removal, street light repairs, etc.), and encouraging community invovlement in PSA meetings
2) Increase in focus mission units to prosecute warrants, and increase jump outs and other drug enforcement-related activities like buy-busts, etcl.
3) Officials on foot (Sgts and above)
4) Youth iniatives and a youth court
5) Increased use of reserve officres
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Two lessons from this ordeal: Number One - Be careful which day you pick to quit sniffing glue; and Number Two - Don't make a left hand turn from the right lane...
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
So what the hell? Is the yellow line going to stop at Petworth metro or not? I'm confused, somebody help me, please.