Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WaPo article on the Chicago Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) problems -- compare to DC's CSO

See this Washington Post story on the Chicago combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) and the problems it causes.

Click on the link to read the * entire * article.

I haven't heard of anyone's flooded basement in Bloomingdale getting maggots.

The cost of climate change

Attack of the Chicago climate change maggots

The effects of climate change are creeping into Chicago's low-income neighborhoods

 July 23 at 6:00 AM

CHICAGO — Sewage gushed up Lori Burns’s toilet. It swept the floor. It wrecked the water heater, the deep freezer, her mother’s wedding veil.
This basement invasion was the third in five years. Burns, 40, could no longer afford to pay a cleanup crew. So she slipped on polka dotted rain boots, waded into the muck, wrenched out the stand-pipe and watched the brown water drain.

The South Side native, a marketing specialist, estimated damages at $17,000. And that did not include what she could not replace: the family heirlooms, the oriental rugs, her cashmere sweaters. The bungalow had flooded four times from 1985 to 2006, when her parents owned it. Lately, it flooded every other year. Burns felt nature was working against her. In a way, it was.

Increased storm frequency is particularly problematic in Chicago, where the sewer system was designed to absorb rain nearly 120 years ago. The city’s storm water systems were built on the assumption that the biggest storms happen only once each decade, at a time when the population was much smaller, said Robert Moore, who leads a climate preparation team at the Natural Resources Defense Council in downtown Chicago. “Climate change will only amplify an existing issue.”...

The combined sewer system overflows when an inch of rain soaks the city, directing waste into the Chicago River. If more than 1.5 inches of rain fall city-wide in a day, Moore said, it floods basements across town, disrupting lives and bank accounts.

Bloomingdale resident Marshall Keys at Bohemian Caverns -- Friday, 07-25-2014, and Saturday, 07-26-2014

See this nearby event announcement from Bloomingdale resident and musician Marshall Keys:

Bohemian Caverns

Friday July 25th
Saturday July 26th

MKQ featuring Lafayette Gilchrist

Marshall Keys saxophone
Lafayette Gilchrist piano
Lenny Robinson drums 
Tarus Mateen bass

Shows at 8:00pm and 10:00pm
$20 online and $25 at the door 11th St. NW 20001

Marshall Keys

Lafayette Gilchrist
Marshall Keys Music/

Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.

McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) also requests to re-open the McMillan PUD record; see the MAG concerns letter

From McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) member and Bloomingdale resident Mat Bader:

MAG has submitted two documents that are posted in the case file for McMillan on IZIS.  I've included both on this email.

MAG Request to Reopen the Record 2014 07 21 by Scott Roberts

DC Office of Zoning accepts the Bloomingdale Civic Association's comments on Vision McMillan Partners post-hearing submissions on case 13-14

See the Email exchange forwarded below by Bloomingdale resident Bertha Holliday:

From: Bertha Holliday
Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:51:23 -0400
Subject: Fwd: Request for re-opening the record of case 13-14 (McMillan PUD)
To: Bloomingdale Civic Association board members

FYI.   see forwarded message.  Bertha

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Schellin, Sharon (DCOZ) <;
Date: Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: Request for re-opening the record of case 13-14 (McMillan PUD)
To: Bertha Hooliday
Cc: "DCOZ - ZCsecretary (DCOZ)" <;, "Hanousek, Donna (DCOZ)" <;, "Leach, Deonte (DCOZ)" <;, "Cochran, Patricia (DCOZ)" <;
Request was approved and document will be placed in the record. Thank you. 

Sharon Schellin
On Jul 22, 2014, at 2:53 AM,  Bertha Holliday wrote:
Dear Sir/Madam:

I have filed the required form for requesting a re-opening of the record for the above noted case.  Attached you will find a copy of comments we desire to be included in the record.  Please confirm receipt of this email and acceptance of comments in the record for Case 13-14.

Thank you very much.
Bertha Holliday

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bloomingdale resident John Salatti expresses his concerns about the DC Water 1st Street Tunnel project

Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:09:47 -0400
Subject: Re: ... Concerned Residents of First Street - Status Update
Thank you for your thoughts, Amelia.  Between what you are noting and what Sherry and Angela presented at last night's BCA meeting, I must frankly say that I am very disappointed with DC Water's handling of things.  And I know we have a few DC Water people in this e-mail distribution so know that I am speaking quite candidly.

I have always understood that in this project, as hard as many of the DC Water folks seem to try, their first loyalties are to the company and the project.  We as residents would always come in a distant third if that close.  But even understanding that from the get go, I thought DC Water would be giving us a better shake than what we've been getting.  And by "we" I particularly mean those of you directly in the path of the most serious construction.  I have worked with DC Water continuously for 8 years now and they remain, by far, the most responsive of any public utility or government agency that I deal with.  But even so, the number of issues that continues to arise and the regularity and persistence of them surprises me.  Perhaps I underestimate the difficulties that DC Water and its contractors face.  But I don't think so.  They have no lack of money, people, or expertise involved.  And I have seen over the years how much we can accomplish with very little of all of those; so I am not overly empathetic to excuses.  In general, I feel that DC Water and its contractors can do better than they've done.  But despite the efforts of the very nice people we generally see face to face, clearly someone in the chain of command does not want to do better either because of money, arrogance, laziness, or some combination of the three. 
One minor example came up at last night meeting, the whole issue of suspending street sweeping.  The refusal of DC Water to make that happen confounds me.  We are in the midst of the biggest parking crisis this neighborhood has ever seen, despite the addition of the Alternative Parking Areas.  And yet DC Water has either refused or is unable to ease the situation by asking DPW to suspend street sweeping for the rest of the season.  I don' t get it.  I was able to get DPW all on my own to do that when DC Water was doing water line replacement work on the unit block of Adams Street several years ago and the residents were getting tickets left and right on street sweeping days.  So DC Water's excuse can't be because such a suspension is bureaucratically hard to do.  I don't have that much clout.  So I would ask that our commissioners and the Bloomingdale Civic Association make a straight forward request directly to Bill Howland at DPW to suspend street sweeping for 2014 and then re-evaluate next spring. 
And the street sweeping is just one example where we are not being paid any mind.  The problems with stop signs, the travel lanes at First and V, the ripping up of concrete with the most disruptive methods, the width of trucks in the alleys, the placing of the companies' convenience far about that of residents, etc., etc., etc.  are appalling and are only likely to get worse.  And if the city goes forward with its development team at McMillan, God save us from the havoc that project will foist on us.

Speaking of the city, let me note that my disappointment does not end with DC Water.  That same lack of poor treatment extends to Washington Gas (by far the worst actor among all actors in this project) and the government of the District of Columbia, especially DDOT, the Mayor's Office, and our Councilmember.  All these parts of the government should have our backs, but they continually make clear that we are not the big concern.  We get handwringing.  We get lip service.  We get reactive responses when we harass them.  This project is so huge that all of these entities should be monitoring and protecting neighbors from the kinds of abuses and injuries that people have experienced.  Instead, we get vague letters and unkept promises.  And if any of those entities takes offense at what I have said, so be it.  Feel free to prove me wrong.  They have been slow to react, slow to help, and slow to protect neighbors' interests. I (and several others I'm sure) am happy to marshal evidence of their neglect any time they want to debate the matter. 
So, neighbors, we still can make use of the First Street Tunnel Forum (next week.  I suggest that perhaps we as neighbors need to take a more assertive stance with DC Water team.  That might require meeting before the forum meeting to prepare a clear series requests that Tunnel Forum members can then advocate for and vote at the meeting.
But I also suggest that the time has come for groups of residents band together (e.g., the First Street Tunnel Concerned Citizens or the Bloomingdale Concerned Citizens (mainly based near Flagler and Adams) and consider hiring legal counsel or finding an attorney in the neighborhood to engage all these entities.  Such an effort would not be cheap in the short run, but could pay off big in the long run, either my avoiding problems or getting them resolved much quicker and with less frustration.  Although I am usually reticent about having to taking this tougher stance concerning neighborhood issues, sometimes entities like these need to know that a group of people does not play and is not to be messed with.  We have done very well on our own, but this project is going to be continuing for a couple of years and perhaps more specific help is needed to ensure that people's needs are heard and quickly and appropriately addressed. Otherwise, the problems we have been experiencing will only get worse.

And if the city goes forward with its development team at McMillan, God save us from the havoc that project will foist on us.
Have a great day,

Plus this subsequent comment from John:

Again, for the benefit off our DC Water readers, DC Water does a much better than average job of trying to reach out and address neighborhood concerns.  Assigning this project to Tom Lindberg is an example of that effort.  Nevertheless, the complexities and costs of this project have continually left DC Water and its partners in DC Government either flatfooted or doing things in direct contravention to the needs and clearly articulated positions of the people most affected. 
I have neither the time nor the desire to try to figure out, much less ascribe, motives.  I frankly don't care whether the motivations for the decisions that are being made arise from good intentions or bad ones from the point of view of the residents of Bloomingdale.  The bottom line is that the process is not working.  The contractors are not being supervised and penalized appropriately (e.g., last week, work goes on at Flagler & U  No Parking signs go up day off work and contractors get huffy with residents when residents tell them to stop shaking their houses because no one thought about using the least offensive method for ripping up a street or alley).  The contractors think that they can act with impunity, and most of the time they can because neither supervisors nor DC government agencies nor DC elected officals are monitoring this sprawling project or holding anyone accountable.  DC Water is continually left scrambling trying to play catch up and react to problems instead of taking a much firmer position with their contractors that such behavior or such poor decision making will not be tolerated and making that stick by firing a few people if that is what it takes to get the message across.
So again Amelia, the time to lawyer up may have arrived.
Good luck.

07-22-2014 GGW post on DC Office of Planing's anti-pop-up proposal

Click on the link to read the * entire * Greater Greater Washington blog post on this topic.

Of     most     specific     interest     to     Bloomingdale     residents.

Should adding more housing be illegal even when neighbors support it?
If a property owner wants to divide a row house into multiple units, the neighbors agree, and the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission does not object, should they be able to?
The Office of Planning (OP)'s recent "anti-pop-up" zoning proposal would halt this practice, in an effort to keep row houses as one- or two-family homes and reduce the financial incentive to add on top and in back. But at two members of DC's Zoning Commission were not at all pleased with this proposal.
Commissioner Rob Miller said that the Board of Zoning Adjustment has been granting many variances recently to allow these multi-family conversions, but only whenand becausethe neighbors and ANC endorse the idea. In fact, he said, the BZA has been sometimes having to bend over backward to get such a request to meet the strict variance criteria. But, at least in his thinking, if this is something neighbors support, why shouldn't it be allowed?
OP's Jennifer Steingasser acknowledged that in the recent BZA cases, there has indeed been neighborhood support. Often that's because a property is vacant and crumbling, and neighbors are eager to see someone invest the considerable capital that might be necessary to overhaul it. Small developers have said that the economics only work out to do such substantial work if they can create more units.

Here is a sample Bloomingdale pop-up.

DC Public Schools Beautification Day -- Saturday, 08-23-2014

Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 11:46:58 -0400
Subject: [MPD-5D] Save the Date August 23 Beautification Day [2 Attachments]

5D Community,
For your Information and Sharing

Celebrate with DC Public Schools, this is their 10 year anniversary for the annual
Beautification Day on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, from 9AM-1PM.

They could use YOUR help.  If you have any questions, please contact,  Director of Partnerships. 
      Spread the word—Forward this opportunity to your colleagues and friends, post to a listserv, hang a flier and draft emails to your colleagues to encourage thier support.
            Register to volunteer – Either as an individual or as a team with colleagues and friends.  Register here:
           Be a Site Manager—Each of the 104 schools will need one volunteer who will oversee the day and assign projects to volunteers. There’s very little prep work involved.

      Encourage volunteers to sign up.

This is a great opportunity to get your colleagues and neighbors together and engage within the DC community!

Tell a Neighbor, Bring Your Friends, See YOU there

Bloomingdale Civic Assn to the DC Zoning Commission: request to re-open the record of case 13-14 (McMillan PUD)

From: Bertha Holliday
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:52:31 -0400
Subject: Request for re-opening the record of case 13-14 (McMillan PUD)

Dear Sir/Madam:
I have filed the required form for requesting a re-opening of the record for the above noted case.  Attached you will find a copy of comments we desire to be included in the record.  Please confirm receipt of this email and acceptance of comments in the record for Case 13-14.
Thank you very much.
Bertha Holliday

See these related tweets:

Good morning! If you live in , you should really see this letter to from the BCA.
"From its inception, the McMillan dev process has been lack of transparency in pursuit of profit." - BCA
"...regardless of comm input to the contrary, ‘insider’ p'ships, disregard/marginalization of legit comm interests.." - BCA
"[VMP] failed to create strengthened relations...but have created...fractures in the communities abutting McMillan.." - BCA
"Bloomingdale Civic Assn was provided no opportunity to engage in direct negotiations of the CBA with VMP."

RiverSmart Bloomingdale Paver Incentives are expiring in 2 months! ACT NOW to take advantage of up to $5000.00 worth of work!!

From: "Oetman, Andrew (DDOE)" 
Date:07/21/2014 5:01 PM (GMT-05:00) 
Subject: RiverSmart Bloomingdale Paver Incentives Are Expiring in 2 months! ACT NOW to Take Advantage of up to $5000.00 worth of work!! 

ATTENTION: Act now, Projects Must be Completed by 09/30/2014 to be Eligible for this Special Funding!!!
How do I know if my home is eligible for this program? Check Here: Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park  Project Area
Dear RiverSmart Participants of the Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park neighborhood,
DDOE and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay are reaching out to residents of Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park  and Ledroit Park one more time to make sure you and/or your neighbors know about the special funding dedicated for the Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park community for removing concrete and replacing it with pervious pavers and/or vegetation.  Over the next couple of months we are hoping to remove concrete and replace it with vegetation or pervious pavers all over the Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park  neighborhood.  This is a limited time offer, the funding is only available until September 30th, 2014.  This gives homeowners only 2 months to get your project rolling.  If you and/or your neighbors are interested in participating please contact us ASAP!  We have to have the projects completed by the 09/30/14.  This means we would need to review, approve and install your paver project by our deadline.
Get Started Today:
1.      Contact our list of approved contractors to get 2-3 project estimates
2.      Choose a contractor: decided on a contractor/estimate that fits your budget after our incentives are applied
3.      Submit your rebate application and we will review your application and send you/your contractor an approval to begin work

Program Details:
Thank you for your interest in the new RiverSmart Rebate program for Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park  and Ledroit Park residents.
The RiverSmart Rebate program was created to reimburse DC homeowners who have taken the initiative to reduce stormwater runoff from their properties through removal and replacement of impervious surface with pervious pavement or vegetated space.  A Stormwater Audit (conducted by DDOE staff) is not required to participate in the RiverSmart Rebate program.  Rebates of up to $5000.00, based on total square footage, are available in Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park  and Ledroit Park neighborhoods.  A minimum of 50 square feet of removed pavement is required.
If you have already participated (or currently have a project underway) through the RiverSmart Homes program, you may also qualify for Rebate funding by completing an additional project (one of those mentioned above).  You may combine the RiverSmart Homes and Rebate grants on a single project if it is a pervious paver project totaling 170 square feet or more or a concrete removal project totaling 350 square feet or more.
For more information regarding the RiverSmart Rebate Program and to apply, please review the attached documents or go to:
Please let me know if you have any questions or if you have trouble downloading the documents.
Thank you,
Sarah Davidson
RiverSmart Homes Program
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
501 Sixth Street
Annapolis, MD  21403
Main office:  443-949-0575
Fax:  443-949-0673
Cell: 202-817-9672 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bloomingdale Civic Assn votes to send letter to the Zoning Commission re: McMillan, asking that the closed record be temporarily re-opened to allow for BCA comments on VMP's post-hearing submissions

The letter and comments document will be submitted to the Zoning Commission post-haste, I believe.

Aunette Banks is seeking a place to rent in the area

See this message regarding a request for rental housing:

My name it's Aunette Banks.  I am a single mother of two.  I am looking for a place to rent in this area.   I'm willing to pay $600 to $800 a month.  I would like to stay in the area because my kids school is DC Prep and I work in the area as well.   Would like to move by September.   I can be reached at or 202 then 696 4079.  Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Bloomingdale neighbor contracts viral meningitis from a mosquito bite

See this 07-21-2014 message from a Bloomingdale resident:

A member of my family here in Bloomingdale has been sick for several days and just learned he has mosquito-borne viral meningitis.   He should be better by the end of the week, but thought this might be news the neighborhood should hear.  Here's something I drafted in case you want to run it--thanks.

Neighbor contracts viral meningitis from a mosquito bite: After a week of feeling lousy, a neighbor went to the doctor and discovered he has viral meningitis contracted from a mosquito bite. While viral meningitis is rarely fatal, and in this case is not contagious person-to-person, it most often affects children and is intensely uncomfortable for the 7-10 days it lasts. Remember to clear standing water from your property to deprive mosquitoes of their breeding grounds and take precautions to avoid bites. Here's a link to a DC DOH fact sheet on the disease if you wish to learn more:

pencil in the National Night Out -- Tuesday, 08-05-2014

Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2014 09:29:25 -0400
Subject: [MPD-5D] Save the Date [1 Attachment]

Good Morning 5D Community,

National Night Out is Tuesday August 5, 2014.   The Fifth District will celebrate at the Florida Avenue Park (1st and Florida Ave NW) from 6pm-9pm.  We will provide crime prevention tips/safety information, food, competitive games and child fingerprinting.  Residents will have the opportunity to interact with Command staff and Beat Officers.

Mark Your Calendars, Bring Your Neighbors and Family, See You There

"Bloomingdale Night Out" on the agenda of the Monday, 07-21-2014, Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting

Here is the agenda for the Monday, 07-21-2014, Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting:


This is Teri Janine Quinn, Bloomingdale Civic Association President.