March 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. Patrick Loftus from the MPD 2nd District Vice Unit/Special Mission Unit gave an update on the arrest on W Street for manufacturing with intent to sell narcotics (marijuana).  The case has been referred to the grand jury.  Asked about the process to evict the perpetrator from the W St. home that he rents, Lt. Loftus said that the house qualifies as a “nuisance property” (property used for activities related to sale or manufacture of controlled substances or paraphernalia, prostitution, or illegal firearms) and the Nuisance Property Abatement Process is handled by the DC Office of the Attorney General (OAG).  The OAG contact is Cam Windham.

Lt. Ralph Neal followed with the police report.  Property crime in ANC 3B was down the previous month compared to the same period last year:  13 in 2017 to 8 in 2018 (6 thefts and 2 stolen autos).  There were no violent crimes in ANC 3B in the preceding month.  A question was asked regarding illegal parking on Observatory Lane (east side of Wisconsin, south of Sushi Keiko),  The problem is most acute at night when valet services use that street for parking.  Lt. Neal said he would have officers investigate the issue.  Commissioner Blumenthal said she would talk to business owners that have  valets.

Discussion with Jeff Marootian, Director of DC Department of Transportation (DDOT).  Mr. Marootian spoke of a number of DDOT initiatives including Vision Zero which seeks to  eliminate transportation deaths and serious injuries by 2024 and approval of a pilot project for use of autonomous vehicles.  He also introduced Lee Goodall as DDOT’s new Director of Community Engagement and Russell Rowe, the new Ward 3 liaison from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations Services (MOCRS).  Commissioner Blumenthal asked Mr. Marootian to explain what ANCs should do to get problems addressed since ANC resolutions have not been effective in getting DDOT action.  Mr. Marootian suggested that the fastest way to get problems fixed would be to submit 311 requests , which can be tracked, and ANCs also should  work with MOCRS. He asked Mr. Goodall to meet with the ANC and have  a walkthrough to look into local issues. Commissioner Young listed a number of outstanding issues in her district including crumbling sidewalks and safety concerns on Cathedral Avenue where the ANC asked for an investigation and additional stop signs. Commissioner Lane asked about DDOT’s approach to identifying and prioritizing streets for re-paving.  He responded that contractors assess and document the condition of all the streets around the city  Each street is given a score between 0 (the worst) and 100 (the best) and then priorities are established from these assessments. He committed to sharing the 2018 work plan. ANC 3B will follow up.

Discussion with Alex Lambert, Restorative Justice Facilitator, OAG Public Safety Division. As part of the NEAR Act, the Victim Offender Mediation Program was established within OAG’s Restorative Justice office.  The program works with juveniles along with some 18-24 year old offenders involved in misdemeanors, with a goal of  diverting young offenders from criminal behavior and facilitating communication between offenders and victims and their families. Commissioner Turmail asked how the ANC and residents could help. Mr. Lambert suggested getting involved in mentoring programs and remaining aware of what can contribute to or mitigate risks of youth crime.

Resolution on NEAR (Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results) Act Implementation. At the January ANC 3B meeting, several residents spoke about concerns with incomplete implementation of the NEAR Act.  At the February meeting Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, gave a detailed presentation about the DC government’s progress on funding and carrying out all the Near Act provisions. The Commission presented and unanimously approved a resolution to support the principles and mechanisms in the law and encourage the city to continue full implementation and funding the provisions and sharing resulting data with the public.

Resolution on DC Comprehensive Plan Update.  The DC Office of Planning (OP) drafted a revision of the first 60-pages of the DC Comprehensive Plan, called the “Framework Element,” covering fundamental principles and land use maps. The Mayor submitted the draft to the DC Council without sharing the proposed changes with the public and providing the comment period OP had promised, which is also required by law. The draft Framework Element also would reduce the ability of ANCs and others to challenge developments on the basis that they violate the goals and principles of the Comp Plan.  On March 20, the DC Council will hold a hearing on the Comprehensive Plan Update. The Commission   unanimously approved a resolution urging additional opportunities for public comment on the Framework Element before it is approved, and asking OP and the Council to ensure that ANCs and others have adequate opportunity to review and comment on all the proposed changes in the Comp Plan, as well as on development that is inconsistent with the Comp Plan. The resolution also calls for the Council to clarify that OP and other executive agencies must give ANCs notice and “great weight” on the Comp Plan and similar plans, and preserve the principle of public representation in major planning processes in the city.

Letter requesting a further discount on ongoing rent DGS charges Community Foodworks for the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market to use the parking lot at Hardy Middle School.  The Commission approved a letter to the city requesting that the rent charged to Community Foodworks for the May to November market be reduced for this coming season (75% from the published fees).

Updates and Information. Commissioner Blumenthal gave an update on the Glover Park Whole Foods dispute with their landlord, Wical Limited Partnership.  The court case continues but the two sides are continuing to talk about a possible settlement.  In the meantime, a community petition to re-open the Whole Foods was sent to Wical with over 1000 signatures, urging the landlord to stop blocking the renovation of the store and to let Whole Foods get the needed building permits to complete the project.

Open Forum

  • Jay Thal, Ward 3 resident, introduced himself as AARP’s liaison for Ward 3, reminded everyone that AARP provides free help with tax returns, and offered to keep in touch on other programs of interest of local seniors..
  • Shiladitya Chakrabarti presented a request of the DC ReInvest (a coalition of 15 organizations) urging the city to take its money out of Wells Fargo, the major bank the D.C. government uses, because of Wells Fargo’s unethical and discriminatory lending practices and its investments in projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. CM David Grosso has introduced a resolution, “Sense of the Council Urging Reassessment of Relationship With Wells Fargo Resolution of 2017” that is supported by a majority of other Councilmembers as well as 7 ANCs.
  • Justin McCarthy of the Partnership Project spoke about his organization’s work to get a bill introduced in the DC Council called the Climate and Community Reinvestment Act of D.C. The bill would establish a carbon  tax on companies that buy and sell carbon-based fuels, including  Pepco, in proportion to the associated  carbon emissions and would rebate the majority of the tax revenues back to DC residents. The partnership is asking ANCs to pass a resolution urging the DC Council to introduce the bill.

The next meeting of ANC3B will be Thursday, April 12th. The agenda will be posted at at least a week before and will be circulated via list servs.