Tuesday, September 29, 2009

another McMillan meeting -- this one, by Ward 5 Councilmember Thomas

See this message from the office of Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

ROOM 107


TEL: 202- 724- 8028
FAX: 202- 724- 8076


Chaired by
Harry “ Tommy” Thomas, Jr., Ward 5 Councilmember


1 Open House 6:30pm to 7:00pm

2 Introductory Remarks 7:00 pm to 7:15 pm

• Harry “ Tommy” Thomas, Jr., Ward 5 Councilmember
• Clint Jackson, Project Manager, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
• Barrie Danneker, ANC 5C07 Commissioner and MAG Member
• Kenyan McDuffie, MAG Spokesperson
• Aakash Thakkar, Vice President, EYA
• Jair Lynch, President, JLDP

3 Discussion Overviews (7-10 minutes each) 7:15 pm to 7:40 pm

• Traffic Information, Nicole White,Symmetra Design
• Historic Information, Emily Eig, EHT Traceries
• Stormwater Management , Mark Stires, Bowman Consulting Group
• Fiscal and Market Analysis, Marisa Gaither, Green Door Advisors

4 Next Steps 7:40 pm to 7:45 pm

• Clint Jackson, DMPED
• Aakash Thakkar, EYA

5 Break Out Sessions and Q & A 7:45 pm to 8:25 pm

6 Closing Remarks 8:25 pm to 8:30 pm

Harry “ Tommy” Thomas, Jr., Ward 5 Councilmember

tonight: planning meeting for North Capitol Main Street Winter Blues 2010 fundraising event

Winter Blues is back... and we don't mean the cold weather doldrums!

You can help North Capitol Main Street improve your local business district. Get involved by helping us plan the fifth annual Winter Blues Party and Silent Auction.

Join us at the home of NCMS President Pat Mitchell at 12 R Street NW on tonight, Tuesday, September 29 at 7 PM to find out more about how you can put your skills to work to make the Winter Blues a big success for our community.

Volunteer opportunities include:

  • Helping to plan event logistics, set-up and tear-down, and entertainment.
  • Seeking auction items from within and beyond the NCMS residential/business community.
  • Securing sponsors.
  • Helping to promote the event.

RSVP to Patricia Mitchell at pmitchell @ columbiadb.com or 202- 547-7979.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shaw Main Streets Annual Development Forum -- Wednesday, 9/30/2009

Shaw Main Streets, the commercial revitalization and historic preservation organization serving central Shaw's 7th and 9th Street commercial corridors, will hold its sixth annual community forum on major development projects on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 6:30 PM at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Room 102B (enter from L Street).

Admission is free, and no reservations are required.

Representatives from developers will present the current status of their plans for major renovation and new construction projects in the area. Invited developers include:

  • Banneker Ventures (The Jazz on Florida Avenue),
  • Ellis Development and Four Points (Howard Theatre and Broadcast Center One),
  • Douglas Development (Wonder Bread Factory and Squares 450 and 451),
  • Roadside Development (CityMarket at O),
  • Quadrangle Development (Marriott Marquis Convention Center Hotel),
  • Hines-Archstone (City Center DC),
  • Metropolitan Development (Addison Square at Kelsey Gardens), and
  • Inle Development (1501 9th Street, NW).

For more information, call 202-265-SHAW or visit www.shawmainstreets.com.


Alexander M. Padro
Executive Director
Shaw Main Streets, Inc.
1426 9th Street, NW, Ground Floor
Washington, DC 20001-3330
Voice: 202-265-SHAW
Fax: 202-265-7529
Email: ShawMainStreets@aol.com
Website: www.ShawMainStreets.com

Shaw Main Streets is a designated DC Main Streets program and is funded in part by the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

Open Houses scheduled in and around Bloomingdale for 09/27/2009

Today's scheduled open houses in the area can be found Here.

I will be at 33 R St NW, just down the street from the Farmers Market from 1-4pm today. Listed for $539,999., this elegant brick and brownstone Victorian also includes a 2-story carriage house!

Richard Norwood, our new Ward 5 Outreach & Service Specialist

Alice Thompson and Justin Bellow are formerly the Ward 5 Outreach and Service Specialists in the Mayor's Office of Community Relations & Services (MOCRS). They have moved on.

Alice and Justin have moved on to other responsibilities.

The replacement for Alice and Justin is Richard Norwood. He attended the most recent Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting.

Here is his contact information:

Government of the District of Columbia
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
Executive Office
Richard Norwood
Ward 5 Outreach and Service Specialist
Mayor's Office of Community Relations & Services
John A. Wilson Building
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 211
Washington, DC 20004

Ward 5 Helpdesk: 202.671.0726
Cell phone: 202.340.7038
Fax: 202.727.5931
Email: Richard.Norwood@dc.gov

To request a service from the DC government:
by phone: 311, 24/7
on the internet 24/7: http://src.dc.gov

Saturday, September 26, 2009

want to help plan Winter Blues 2010 ?

Recall North Capitol Main Street Winter Blues fun-fun-fun fundraising events?

Would you like to help plan Winter Blues 2010?

Read this message at the link from Garry Clark, Executive Director, North Capitol Main Street Inc.:


The photo above is courtesy Bloomingdale resident Sara Kaufman from Winter Blues 2006, held in the Social Hall of Trinity University.

Friday, September 25, 2009

anyone used Brooks Upholsterers on R I Ave NW ?

From Bloomingdale resident Todd Crosby:

Has anyone ever done business with Brooks Upholsterers there at 80 Rhode Island NW behind the City Cleaners?

I have two chairs I’d like to get recovered…was wondering about the quality of their work..etc

final call! bulk order wrought iron fencing for your treebox

Karyn of North Capitol Street NW

This is your last chance to bulk order wrought iron fencing for your tree box.

Your neighbors are coordinating a bulk purchase and installation of wrought iron fencing in Bloomingdale.

We already have enough neighbors interested in an installation to reduce the cost by buying in bulk.

The negotiated the cost of a single 4’x8’ tree box is $480. Price will vary depending on the size of an individual tree box. The contractor we chose also contracts for DC and therefore can guarantee the installations are in accordance of city code.

Please contact me at krayon @ gmail.com if you are interested in participating in the bulk order of tree box fencing. We will begin installations in October.

Also send me your contact information if you are interested in a city grant that pays for tree box fence installations. We are considering submitting a city grant to install tree box fencing for all of Bloomingdale.

I look forward to hearing from you.

1826 North Capitol St, NW
202- 306- 0608

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lost Dog Found!

You may have seen this post on the Prince of Petworth blog or you may also have seen flyers posted in the neighborhood. Olive's owner is reporting that she is safely back home, so if you see flyers around, they can be removed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

at Timor Bodega this Saturday

From Kim Wee:

THIS Saturday:

Fresh bagels available from 8:30AM till they sell out around 3PM.

Pastured eggs and fresh chicken from Polyface Farms come in at about 3pm. The eggs have the brightest orange yolk I've seen, and the store carries them exclusively until the end of the egg laying season. The chicken will be slaughtered Friday, and will likely sell out this weekend.

Next fresh chicken will be available 2 weeks later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

here is the latest North Capitol Main Street, Inc. e-newsletter

Here is the link to the August/September 2009 e-newsletter of North Capitol Main Street, Inc.


Read about "First on 1st" art walk event held on Saturday, 8/1/2009.

Brief business spotlight on Y.E.S.S.S. -- Your Educational Supplies, and Systems and Services -- at 108 Rhode Island Avenue NW.

Read a profile of JAK & Company Beauty Salon at 112 Rhode Island Avenue NW.

Plus see the Save-the-Date announcement for a Fall NCMS Membership/Fundraising Drive on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at Parker Flats at Gage School Condominiums. Stay tuned for more info!

Note that the image of two bunny Peeps on the vacant building where the dirt drawing event occurred and the image of Yoga District are courtesy of Imgoph blogger Geoffrey Hatchard.

here is your opportunity to oppose or support the proposed regulations for neighborhood historic designation

Okay, neighborhood historic designations haters and lovers!

Here is your golden opportunity to weigh in.

See the message below from Capitol Hill resident Nancy Metzger, head of the DC Historic Districts Coalition.

(This message was posted on the Historic Washington list at Yahoogroups, moderated by Chevy Chase resident Mary Rowse.)

Those who are passionate in opposition or support of the proposed regulations governing the establishment of new historic neighborhoods in DC are invited to commment to the DC Historic Preservation Office (HPO).

Is there an active effort to get Bloomingdale designated at this time? No.

But be assured, some group of residents in Bloomingdale will initiate an effort to do so, so residents need to be educated and be informed.

Posted by: merowse @ aol.com
Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:33 am

From: Nancy Metzger, Historic Districts Coalition

A final draft of new regulations for designating historic districts and historic landmarks has been published and the Historic Preservation Review Board will be taking comments at the October 22 meeting. These regulations have changed in important ways since the public participation issue was discussed last year at the Cheh-Bowser Bill legislative hearing. At the Council hearing, many Coalition members and others in the preservation community testified about the importance of public participation in the process but also suggested changes in the legislation that would have impacted the designation procedure. The complete regulations, showing corrections, can be accessed through the HPO web site. Comments on the proposed regulation should be submitted, in writing, to Tersh Boasberg, Chairman, Historic Preservation Review Board, 2000 14th Street, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.

Several key points:

* All property owners will be notified of pending designation and owners have the right to submit a statement to the Board before the hearing stating their objections or their support. (It appears that an earlier mail-back ballot idea has been dropped.)

* It would require a majority of owners expressing their opposition in written form to block the nomination. They could testify at a hearing but the staff would tally the written comments. If the Board feels that there is not broad community support, particularly as indicated by the written comments, then there's a waiting period of 12 months before a nomination can be reconsidered. (The regs explicitly say the applicant doesn't have to demonstrate universal support or support from those declining to register an opinion. This waiting period is a change from the much longer waiting periods suggested by the Cheh-Bowser bill but is in line with the federal

* Although the regulations say listings in the DC Inventory can be amended or revoked, it also says properties may be removed only if they no longer meet the criteria for designation. (So there does not seem to be a method to remove properties if they just become unpopular or inconvenient somehow.)

* There is a section that requires draft historic district guidelines for each individual historic district that must be distributed before a determination is made by the Board. (The guidelines would be revised later, taking into account comments from the Board and public, after the nomination is acted on. This follows the Foxhall Village adoption scenario.)

* In addition, there is a section that states the Board, Mayor's Agent, and staff may use the Comprehensive Plan and the Historic Preservation Plan for "additional guidance on the listing of properties in the DC Inventory and on the review of construction affecting historic landmarks and historic districts."

Draft Window Standards Released for Public Comment

As just about anyone involved in historic preservation at the neighborhood level can attest, there is often controversy swirling about window replacement. The Historic Preservation Office has released draft window standards for comment.

There is emphasis on repair first and retention of historic material where possible. When replacement is necessary, emphasis is on how close it looks to the original / historic window. An important change is that some materials other than wood may be approved if the appearance closely matches. (The standards say, "Matching the original material of historic windows is strongly encouraged. alternative materials may be approved if they can convincingly replicate the appearance of the historic window and appreciably undistinguishable from the original material.") This lets open the door for some of the newer materials (fibrex, for example) and others yet to be discovered while keeping the emphasis on how the proposed new window would function visually as a replacement for historic windows. As with the present standard, there is a less stringent materials requirement for windows in the rear or non-primary facades.

This is a first draft that has been released for comment by the public and HPRB (available through the Historic Preservation Office website). It is scheduled for comment at the October 22 Board meeting. In addition, comments can be sent in writing to the Historic Preservation Office, 2000 14th Street, NW, Fourth Floor, Washington, DC 20009. The window standards will be submitted to the Office of Attorney General for a legal sufficiency review after consideration of the Board and public comments and any necessary revision.

Nancy Metzger

Monday, September 21, 2009

WASA work coming up for Flagler and U St NW

See this 09/19/2009 message from ANC 5C04 Commissioner John Salatti.

DC WASA will be doing a water line and lead pipe replacement project on Flagler Place NW and half of the 100 block of U Street NW. The agency is currently seeking a permit to start work, and the starting date will be directly a factor of when DCRA issues the permit. The project will start at Adams and come down Flagler and turn left on to U Street and end at 1st NW. The project will proceed one block at a time to minimize the parking problems that are going to result from this work. The typical work day will run from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. This will make parking much more problematic, but will allow the agency to get the work done in half the time. But even with this work day, each block on Flagler will take 45-50 days to complete.

None of this water project will impact the 100 block of V Street or 2nd Street NW.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Open Houses in and around Bloomingdale scheduled for 09/20/2009

Sorry for the lapse during the transition of The Blog. Open house listings that are scheduled through the local multiple listing system should again appear regularly.

Here is the list for Sunday 9/20.

Although NOT open this Sunday, I have a great new listing at 33 R St NW that just went into the mls today. It's a beautifully cared for Victorian with several unusual features. I particularly love that the current owner had the paint removed from the brownstone and that it has the original iron exterior steps. There is a two-story carriage house in the back. Heart of pine floors, two antique mantels (and one working fireplace), high ceilings, and a bay front are just a few of the charming historic details. The kitchen, which has an open layout to the dining area and family room, is fully updated with quality appliances, a center island, solid surface counters, and a glass tile backsplash. It is being offered for sale at $539,999. The virtual tour can be seen Here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bloomingdale House Tour -- on the agenda of this Monday's Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting

Here the agenda for this Monday's Bloomingdale Civic Association meeting, supplied by Civic Association President Robert Brannum:






Introductions and Moment of Silence

Bloomingdale Community Concerns
McMillan Park, public safety, and other community items

Announcements/Updates from Office of Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr.

Howard University – Homecoming Update
Information presentation about parade route, traffic, and other homecoming items

Bloomingdale House Tour
Update on selected houses, ads, and other tour items

St. Martin’s Apartments
Project development presentation

DC Arts and Humanities Commission
Presentation regarding application process for mural at First and W Streets NW



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2204 Flagler Pl NW on 2009 Metro DC Tour of Solar Homes and Buildings

From Bloomingdale resident Jeff Hayward:

I was hoping that you could post information inviting people to the solar energy open house we are holding at 2204 Flagler Place NW as part of the 2009 Metro DC Tour of Solar Homes and Buildings.

Last year, we installed a small-scale system of photovoltaic panels on the roof of our 1909 rowhouse, which provides about 50% of our electric energy. This system was 50% funded by a grant from the DC government as part of a renewable energy demonstration program. We made a commitment to offer demonstrations to our community of this system, so that others could learn about how they might generate solar energy in their home or business, too.

Our Flagler Place rowhouse will be featured on the second day of the Solar Tour 2009, from 11 am to 5pm on Sunday October 4th. We’d be pleased to welcome our neighbors to come drop by and talk about renewable energy. Here is the link to the Solar Tour:

In addition, the organization I work for, Rainforest Alliance did an interview with me for our on-line journal The Canopy and featured 15 photos of our house with explanatory captions. Neighbors can view our solar system and the step-by-step installation by following this link:
alliance.org/climate.cfm?id= qa_jeff_hayward&autoSlideShow=

People are welcome to call or write for more information. 202- 294- 7008.

Monday, September 14, 2009

make Teri Janine happy

The Beautification Committee of the Bloomingdale Civic Association is jonesing for volunteers!

See this request from Teri Janine of the Beautification Committee:

The Bloomingdale Civic Association seeks volunteers to become members of the Beautification Committee. At the moment, there is only one person on the committee.

If you are interested in working to enhance the appearance of our community, please contact Teri Janine at terijanine @ gmail.com as soon as possible. Thanks!

new chair appointed to head NCPC

"Who cares if the National Capital Planning Commission gets a new appointed chair?"

Bloomingdale residents should at least take notice.

Newcomers may ask "What is NCPC?"

Here are two paragraphs lifted from the NCPC website, www.ncpc.gov, that describes what NCPS is:

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) is the federal government’s central planning agency for federal land and buildings in the National Capital Region. NCPC’s jurisdiction covers 2,500 square miles, including the District of Columbia and surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia.

develops planning policies and makes decisions that protect and enhance the
extraordinary historical, cultural, and natural resources of the nation's capital. Through four principal activities, NCPC helps ensure that Washington remains one of the most admired capitals in the world.

I am passing along this announcement simply because NCPC has influence over development projects in the metropolitan area, including development at the Old Soldiers' and Sailors Home / Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH) -- as well as the McMillan Sand Filtration Site (although I have to confess it is not clear if indeed NCPC has input to the sand filtration site project).

Anyway, here is the annoucement on the appointment of Preston Bryant Jr. as the new chair of NCPC, again from the NCPC website:

President Obama Appoints Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, L. Preston Bryant, Jr., as Chair of the National Capital Planning Commission

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Washington, DC – President Obama today named Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, L. Preston Bryant, Jr., to serve as chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission. He currently serves as the secretary of natural resources in the cabinet of Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine, overseeing six agencies that protect and restore the Commonwealth’s natural and historic resources.

In his new role at NCPC, Secretary Bryant will lead the 12-member Commission’s work to protect and enhance the extraordinary historical, cultural, and natural resources of the nation’s capital and surrounding region. He will also oversee the Commission’s review of the design of federal construction projects, long-range planning efforts, and planning policies.

“I am honored to accept the President’s appointment,” said Secretary Bryant. “The National Capital Planning Commission is uniquely positioned to enhance Washington’s standing as a sustainable, livable capital city. I look forward to guiding projects that will benefit the environment, advance green building design, and protect the city’s treasured open space.”

Prior to joining Governor Kaine’s cabinet in 2006, Secretary Bryant served in the Virginia House of Delegates for ten years, where he sponsored landmark legislation to preserve more than one million acres of nontidal wetlands, streamline Virginia’s stormwater management programs, and create a program to improve wastewater treatment facilities that discharge into Virginia waters.

“Secretary Bryant’s experience will serve this Commission well,” said NCPC’s Executive Director Marcel Acosta. “He has advised Governor Kaine on critical issues impacting the state’s natural resources, and throughout his career he has been devoted to advancing environmental priorities, a matter that is of the utmost importance in our role as the federal planning agency for America’s capital city.”

Secretary Bryant also served as a partner in a Virginia-based civil engineering, surveying, and planning firm. He was born in Lynchburg, Virginia and resides in Richmond. He becomes the 21st person to serve as chair of the National Capital Planning Commission, established by Congress in 1924. He will complete the remainder of the term of outgoing Chairman John V. Cogbill, III, which concludes on January 1, 2013.

“We are indebted to Chairman Cogbill for his leadership and strong support for the staff’s efforts over the last eight years,” said Mr. Acosta in announcing the appointment to staff. “Chairman Cogbill has worked tirelessly to ensure that the work of the Commission contributes to the continued vitality of a world-class capital. I look forward to working with Secretary Bryant moving forward to ensure our future efforts help the capital be a model of innovation and best planning practices.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

alternate McMillan development proposal: but do the numbers work?

I attended last night's McMillan Sand Filtration site community development meeting coordinated by ANC Commissioners Stuart Davenport, Ronnie Edwards, Myla Moss & John Salatti, Howard University Community Association and the McMillan Park Committee.

The last item on the agenda was a presentation and Q & A by Catholic University of America Associate Professor Miriam Gusevich.

A brief jump back in history: Back in 2000 (?), Professor Gusevich and fellow CUA School of Architecture Professor Stanley Hallett, FAIA, gave a public presentation on the CUA campus at the request of the DC Office of Planning on what could be done with the sand filtration site. I happened to attend that session. Believe me, the entire set of participants sat there ooohing and aaahing over the high-level ideas that Professors Gusevich and Hallett were tossing out as possible uses for the site. The central theme of the various ideas was an urban park setting.

Back to last night: Professor Gusevich's presentation proceeded from the original presentation: an urban park space -- this round with residential development along 1st Street NW and office buildings along Michigan Avenue NW.

She indicated that she could make the numbers work in comparison to the current Vision McMillan Partners proposal.

(John Salatti commented after the meeting that most or all of the meeting's presentation materials would be posted soon to the MyMcMillan site.)

I want to see Professor Gusevich's numbers.

Monday, September 07, 2009

community meeting NOT coordinated by DMPED & the development team this Wednesday on the McMillan Sand Filtration site development

This Wednesday, 9/9/2009, there will be a meeting on the development of the McMillan Sand Filtration site (and not the McMillan Reservoir site, which reporters consistently confuse!).

Note that this meeting is NOT NOT NOT being coordinated by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED) and the Vision McMillan Partners land development team which has put on the prior community meetings.

It should also be noted that the members of the McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) are not a sponsor of this event.

No agenda for this meeting has been provided.

(Photo of the McMillan sand filtration silos courtesy of hipchikindc: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hipchickindc/1556599315/)

Item #1) See this message from ANC 5C04 Commissioner John Salatti:

A few weeks ago, I announced a community meeting about the McMillan Sand Filtration Site. But because a number of key people were not able to make that date, I postponed the meeting. But now with the help of a new host committee, the meeting has been rescheduled and revamped into a series of meetings.

So on behalf of the host committee consisting of several ANC commissioners, community associations, and residents, I invite you to the attend the first of these meetings to discuss the future of the Sand Filtration Site. This meeting is set for Wednesday, September 9, 2009 at St. George's Episcopal Church, at 2nd & U Streets, NW, starting at 7:00 p.m.

This first meeting will cover some history, the results of a previous community input process in 2000, a slide show of the site, the current development plan that has been discussed over the last year, and other options for developing such a site. While this meeting will mainly present broad information, it will lay the foundation for succeeding ones, which will cover more technical issues and offer ways for participants to develop a consensus for what they would like to see happen at the site.

Because the future of the Sand Filtration Site is complex issue and sometimes contentious, we will have a professional facilitator who will run the meetings.

Also, come early. St.George's only seats about 100 people!

If you have any questions, please let me know.


John T. Salatti
Commissioner, ANC 5C04
(202) 986- 2592
John.Salatti @ gmail.com
"Together, Building a Better Bloomingdale"

Item #2) I spotted a few fluorescent green leaflets blowing around some sidewalks in the neighborhood, announcing the Wednesday McMillan community meeting.

Here is the text from the leaflet:

ANC Commissioners Stuart Davenport, Ronnie Edwards, Myla Moss & John Salatti

Howard University Community Association

McMillan Park Committee

Our Community, Our Choice
My McMillan

Please become part of a community effort to shape the future of this national treasure in our own backyard.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
7 pm to 9 pm

St. George's Episcopal Church
160 U Street NW

info @ mymcmillan.com
202 - 986 - 2592



And let’s review, once again, what the rules are for posting comments:

1) Identify yourself. A full name would be best, but at least include a first name.

2) Identify your neighborhood.

3) Totally anonymous posts will not be allowed and be deleted, regardless of the content of the comment.

BOTH name and neighborhood name are required! Thanks for honoring the rules.

Friday, September 04, 2009

availability of photos of those arrested & convicted

I was provided a copy of an Email from a Florida Avenue NW household to MPD Chief of Police Lanier regarding an interest to have the police have photos of those arrested and convicted readily available to the public.

Good suggestion? Poor public policy?

Florida Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
August 26, 2009

Cathy L. Lanier, Chief
Metropolitan Police Department
Government of the District of Columbia
300 Indiana Avenue NW
5th Floor
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Chief Lanier:

I live on Florida Avenue, NW in an area bordered by Bloomingdale, Shaw and the Truxton Circle neighborhoods. Although the building we live in has been in our family for over 30 years, we are fairly new to the neighborhood, having moved in after renovating the building. Renovation was difficult, expensive and frustrating due to the number of thefts and burglaries we suffered over a two-year period. Tools, compressors, fixtures, wiring and pipes (ripped from the walls) were taken. The renovations should have taken less than a year, but it seemed every time we took a step forward we would be forced to take a half step backwards because of the thefts and break-ins. As a result, I almost refused to move in, but did so at my husband's insistence (he convinced me that all the bars, cameras, lights, security system and our somewhat nasty Chesapeake retriever rendered the place relatively safe). Thus far, he has proven to be correct. While I believe the battle against crime here is slowly being won, the neighborhood is still very fragile and the war could be lost. The robbers, burglars, thieves, prostitutes, druggers and dealers are still amongst us. We see them wandering and hanging around our alleys and corners, and we suspect that they are up to no good, but we just don't have enough information to distinguish who are the bad guys (we have a lot of transients wandering around).

Our online newsletter put out by a fellow named Scott Roberts is wonderful. Among other newsworthy items, it lists all of the neighborhood crimes, arrestees and the convicted. Unfortunately, we can't put faces with the reports. One of our burglars was caught, convicted, sentenced, ordered to pay restitution, paroled, and we don't even know what he looks like. He could be sitting on my front stoop casing my house and I wouldn't know him.

It is my belief that peer (or neighborhood) disapproval is a strong deterrent (ergo the stocks and pillories of colonial times). For some unbeknown reason, our criminal elements walk the streets in total anonymity. I believe the public has a right to know who is being arrested and convicted of crimes in their neighborhoods, and especially who to watch out for. While I am aware that we have to be sensitive to the rights of the accused, I also know that in reality most of the accused have long criminal records and publishing names and photographs would have little or no character impact. In any event, we already get the names. If we put a face on it, the information becomes useful.

I have enclosed the front page of a newspaper from a nearby jurisdiction. While I believe that this is extreme journalism, I also know that when you get arrested in St. Mary's County, everybody knows it. This is a great incentive to stay clear of law violations.

My husband and I are not right wing conservatives. One of us is African-American the other is Caucasian. We are strong believers in the Bill of Rights for all individuals. We believe that this includes us and our neighbors. Thank you for giving our request whatever consideration you can.


a first stab at blog posting comment guidelines

Here is an initial set of guidelines for commenting on posts here at the Bloomingdale Neighborhood blog:

1) Identify yourself. A full name would be best, but at least include a first name.

2) Identify your neighborhood.

3) Totally anonymous posts will not be allowed and be deleted, regardless of the content of the comment.

I am following the well-seasoned comment guidelines of the popular InShaw blog (thanks, Mari!)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

"how do you deal with harassment on the street?"

A resident on the unit block of R Street NW has asked this message posted for public comment:

To the females of Bloomingdale:I was just wondering how other females from the neighborhood deal with this problem, because as a resident of the area for the past 2 1/2 years, it has taken its toll on me.

How do you deal with men (sometimes high or drunk) harassing you on the street?

I still don't really know the best way to handle unwelcome comments or catcalls. I have tried just about everything. Ignoring them seems to make it worse, because usually they just get louder (and often cruder) to try to get your attention. Sometimes, if someone seems friendly (especially someone who lives on my block) I might smile and say hello, but many times this only provokes things further, as some take the hello as an invitation to say lewd things. And these things happen in the middle of the day and/or morning. I won't even get into what happens at night.

I know one thing is to try not to walk alone, but sometimes for me it is unavoidable, as I need to get to the bus or metro or go to the coffee shop, which is just about 100 yards from my house. Should I say something more clear back to them (like "please stop saying things like that to me") if it is someone who I recognize who is a recurring problem? I have a feeling that might just backfire and make walking down my street something I would dread even more.There are times when I just try to block it out, but there are other times when I hear certain things that certain men say (very nasty things sometimes) that literally just makes me want to pick up and move to Glover Park. And I hate Glover Park.

I know it is just a part of living in the city and living in our area that I have to deal with and I try to remember all the great things about our area when I start to think it is too much. But if anybody has some constructive feedback for me, I would appreciate it. Thanks.