October 2016 Meeting Report

Police Report. Sergeant Benjamin Firehock of the Second District, MPD, gave the police report.   Overall, crime declined for the past month compared to one year earlier but not across the board.   Shoplifting and bicycle thefts are up compared to last year. Commissioner Young asked about the problem of speeding on Cathedral Avenue between Massachusetts and New Mexico. At last month’s meeting, Commander Gresham and Lieutenant Neal said they would alert DC StreetSafe staff and ask them to do an evaluation of speeding on Cathedral. Commissioner Turmail also brought up the speeding problem on Tunlaw Road between Calvert and Fulton. Sgt. Firehock will check on the status of the evaluation of the Cathedral Avenue speeding issue as well as addressing the Tunlaw Road problem.   Finally, Commissioner Turmail asked what could be done to stop parents who have dropped off their children from making dangerous “K” turns in the morning at 40th and Calvert. Sgt. Firehock will alert the PSA 204 traffic control officer about the situation.

DC Office of Unified Communications. Karima Holmes, Director of Unified Communications, gave an overview of her agency’s responsibilities and future plans. OUC is responsible for handling all 911 (emergency) and 311 (non-emergency) calls. Yearly, average call volume is roughly 1.6 million 911 and 1.8 million 311 calls.   Both systems are undergoing major upgrades to address problems such as most notably the recent 911 system outage.   One issue is that calls better addressed under the 311 system are coming into the 911 system.   To address this problem, UOC is implementing improvements to the 311 system including the ability to text requests as well as use on-line chats in hopes of making it more user friendly. A number of improvements are also planned and being implemented to the 911 system including enhancing interoperability of the system by driving it off an IP database, creating the capability for texting and sending pictures, encouraging the use of “Smart 911” where citizens can set up personal profiles, and setting up a language line. In addition to system improvements, Director Holmes is increasing staff training of 311 and 911 operators and setting up redundant 911 centers so if one center goes down, another can take over without disruption.

Rent Control Issue. ANC 3F02 Commissioner Shirley Adelstein was to speak about this issue especially about concessions that can financially penalize tenants.   Unfortunately, Commissioner Adelstein had to leave to attend another meeting so her presentation will be re-scheduled for a later date.

Security Cameras Surrounding Russian Embassy Compound. Cliff Seagroves, Deputy Director of the Office of Foreign Missions at the State Department explained the installation of several cameras around and near the Russian Embassy Compound.   Host countries are responsible for security around foreign missions. A few months ago, Russian embassy staff expressed concern about the safety of the neighborhood around the compound. They initially asked that the State Department a) install 24-hour security posts staffed by MPD and b) ask the D.C. government to eliminate public parking on Tunlaw Road around and near their compound.   The State Department determined that that these steps were not warranted but in order to address the security concerns of the Russians, the State Department worked with MPD to install additional surveillance cameras at Fulton and Tunlaw, Davis and Tunlaw, Calvert and Tunlaw and Calvert and 39th Street. The images from these cameras are not available to Russian embassy personnel, but are likely monitored similar to the many other surveillance cameras mounted throughout the District.

Grant Request from Hardy Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Jane Alexander of the Hardy Middle School PTO presented her grant application for $2,500 to enhance and update materials in the school library. Currently, the average age of their library books is 2004. A motion was made to approve the grant. It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Public Space Application Re Holiday Inn Site Development.   At the November meeting, developers of the Holiday Inn site will present their detailed plans and the community will be able to weigh in on these plans. For this meeting, ANC 3B was only asked to consider the developer’s application for a public space variance covering landscaping and paving surrounding the site. This application is unrelated to the renovation of the building itself.   Commissioner Blumenthal asked for a motion to “not object” to the application.   A motion was made, duly seconded and passed unanimously.

Resolution Regarding the Draft Statehood Constitution.   Commissioner Mladinov introduced a resolution requesting amendments to the draft state constitution that will be considered by Council.   This constitution is part of the DC statehood campaign. On the November ballot, the DC Council has included an advisory referendum question on whether or not citizens support statehood.   Commissioner Mladinov’s resolution does not take a position on statehood but proposes changes to clarify the draft constitution regarding the independent powers of a number of DC offices and commissions and asks that DC voters be given the opportunity to ratify or disapprove the draft constitution in a binding referendum if DC statehood is approved by Congress. Commissioner Young expressed concerns with this resolution and the issue of statehood overall. A motion was made and duly seconded to approve this resolution.   The motion passed 4 to 1.

Good Guys Settlement Agreement.   Commissioner Blumenthal introduced a resolution to approve a revised settlement agreement between ANC 3B and Good Guys. This agreement updates, consolidates and extends a number of past agreements, which had provisions that are no longer necessary.   A motion was made to approve the resolution. It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Resolution Regarding Restoring or Replacing Fillmore Arts Center Programming.   DC school officials are once again proposing to eliminate funding to the Fillmore Arts Center. The Center provides broad-based arts education to students in five DC public schools including Stoddert. Commissioner Turmail introduced a resolution urging District of Columbia public school officials to continue funding and operating the Fillmore Arts Center after the current school year and seek ways to strengthen and maintain high quality arts instruction equitably to all DCPS students through similar programs in other parts of the city. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The next meeting of ANC3B will be Tuesday, November 15th rather than on Thursday, November 10th. The agenda will be posted at anc3b.org at least a week before and will be circulated via list servs.   At the meeting, the Commission will hear from the developers of the Holiday Inn site (2101 Wisconsin Avenue, NW).