April 2018 Meeting Report

All Commissioners were in attendance: Ann Mladinov (3B01), Jackie Blumenthal (3B02), Melissa Lane (3B03), Mary Young (3B04) and Brian Turmail (3B05). Chairman Turmail called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.  He made a motion to approve the agenda.  It was seconded and passed unanimously

Police Report.  Lt. Ralph Neal gave the police report.  Violent crime is unchanged this month compared to the same month last year.  There was one violent crime (robbery) in ANC 3B this current period.   The number of property crimes in 3B have increased this month compared to last year from 15 to 19.  The increase was due to a jump in thefts from auto.

Discussion of Initiative 77 “Tipped Wage Ballot Measure” on June 19th Primary Ballot.   This ballot initiative requires that tipped workers in District restaurant, bars, hotels, nail and hair salons be paid the same minimum wage as other workers in the city, rather than the current $3.33/hour plus tips. By law DC employers are required to make up the difference between the tipped worker minimum wage and the standard minimum wage of $12.50/hour if a worker falls short within an individual shift. The initiative was proposed by Restaurant Opportunities Center of DC (ROC-DC) represented at the meeting by its Deputy Co-Director, Diana Ramirez. She said that many of the 30,000 tipped workers in DC are women and/or people of color who are not getting that level of compensation, cannot make a living wage under the current system, and are subject to pressure from employers not to complain for fear of losing their jobs. She also reported that tipped workers often must tolerate sexual harassment and abuse in order to keep their jobs and earn adequate tips. DC restaurant owners Ris Lacoste and Paul Holder, and Maria Barry from Tin Shop countered, noting that workers at their restaurants make $20 to $40 or more per hour, their paycheck services automatically ensure that tipped workers make at least $12.50/hour on each shift, and that Initiative 77 is an “answer in search of a problem.” They believe the measure would irreparably harm the DC hospitality industry in general because their prices would have to cover what customers have been paying in tips. Any higher revenues will also increase payroll taxes, income taxes, and rental fees for their properties, potentially driving away both customers and experienced servers and causing restaurants in DC to close or move to other jurisdictions. They noted that the number of members of ROC-DC is a small percentage of the number of tipped workers in the District and maintained that most DC tipped workers are against the proposed initiative.

Conversation with Commissioners John Giacomini and Marguerite Pridgen, Ward 3 Representatives on the DC Commission on Aging.  The DC Commission on Aging was established to advise the Mayor, DC Council and the general public on the needs and concerns of DC’s older citizens.  The Commission consists of 13 members, including two representing Ward 3. Ward 3 has the highest number of senior residents in the city, about 22% of the population or close to 20,000. The Commission tries to work with organizations in the community including senior villages and religious congregations to identify needs and advocate programs for seniors.  They mentioned the Ambassadors program, a grass roots effort to reach seniors in need, as well as “Mini-Commissions” on Aging that have been organized in every ward except Wards 2 and 3. Commissioners Pridgen and Giacomini encouraged ANCs and community members to testify at DC Council hearings affecting seniors and help link seniors to needed services.

Public Space Permit Application for Pearson’s Parking Lot.  ANC 3B was asked to comment on a public space permit application (#299146) that seeks to close the curb cut at the entrance to the parking lot located at 2340 Wisconsin Avenue, aka “Pearson’s parking lot.”  The permit seeks to add a bike rack and planter on the sidewalk.   The pending sale of the parking lot is being challenged by the owners of Pearson’s Liquor Store because they were not given right of first refusal.  Commissioner Blumenthal introduced a resolution opposing the public space permit on the basis that the legal issues surrounding the sale have not been resolved.   A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.

Letter of Support for Glover Park Day on June 2nd, 2018.  Commissioner Lane presented a letter to the DC Parks of Recreation from ANC 3B supporting the 29th Annual Glover Park Day.   A motion was made to approve the letter.  It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Updates and Information

  • ANC 3B Walk Through with DDOT and MOCRS. On March 26, Russell Rowe, the new community liaison to ANC3B from the Mayor’s office, led a walk-through of Cathedral Heights and the Glover Park commercial area with ANC members, focusing on areas the ANC had requested traffic safety improvements, parking adjustments, and sidewalk repairs. The city recommended that to get effective response, all ANC requests be submitted via the DC 311-system so they can be tracked, and when necessary, additional forms be submitted with more information to back up the requests.
  • Mayor’s Proposed FY 2019 Budget. The Mayor’s proposed budget includes higher per pupil spending for students at DC Public Schools and increased investments for roads and infrastructure, senior programs, the short-term shelter for homeless families, and public safety. In the list of capital projects, initial funds are also included for an addition to Stoddert Elementary School in FY 2024.
  • DC Water Town Hall Meeting for Ward 3 on April 4. Two developments:  a) Councilmember Cheh is working with DC Water to make more funds available to ease the burden of the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charges. DC Water will work with residents to recalculate their impervious surface area and is urging DOEE to adjust the rebates available to residents for reducing run-off from their property and b) the Green Infrastructure plan for Glover Park has been approved and will go forward.   There was no news on the Glover-Archbold Park sewer system project.
  • Council Hearing on Comprehensive Plan Update.  ANC3B and more than 200 other many other groups and individuals presented testimony for the March 20 hearing about changes the Mayor is proposing to the initial “Framework Element” of the DC Comprehensive Plan which guides zoning and planning decisions. The ANC joined many witnesses in protesting the lack of opportunity to review the Mayor’s proposal before it went to the Council, as well as the significant reduction in opportunities to change or contest development proposals that go through the Zoning Commission. The hearing lasted until the early morning hours and with the number of concerns raised by witnesses and Councilmembers about weakening the Comp Plan, failing to address increasing needs for affordable housing, and creating an open season for developers, Council Chairman Mendelson concluded by saying the Council would not act on the Comp Plan update until at least July and he would be looking for ways to overhaul the Mayor’s proposal.
  • Airplane Noise. The court denied the lawsuit brought by community groups in Northwest Washington against FAA over adjustments to flight routes at National Airport because it was not filed during the official FAA comment period in 2013. The decision may be appealed. The community groups are continuing to work on the issue, and the city has funded a more detailed study of ways to alleviate airplane noise in the area, to use in negotiations with FAA and the airport authority.
  • Proposed Mobile Senior Wellness Program for Wards 2 and 3. In the absence of a designated Senior Wellness Center in Wards 2 and 3, the city has agreed to work with the community to develop senior wellness services at libraries or other facilities around the area to bring programming closer to where seniors in the wards actually live.

The next meeting of ANC3B will be Thursday, May 10th. The meeting will feature a panel consisting of a Glover Park business owner, landlord, DC government officials and a representative from CM Cheh’s office to discuss issues and challenges for the Glover Park commercial area and possible approaches to addressing them.