Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shots Fired on Seaton Place NW

I heard approximately 6 shots being fired around 12:25 a.m. this morning in the vicinity of the unit block of Seaton Place N.W., across the street from my house. Police response was very prompt. An ambulance arrived on the scene shortly after three police cars. I will inquire tomorrow about details.

If there is a silver lining here, it is that I met some neighbors tonight who were also observing the scene across the street.

You may recall this account of gunfire on that very block the morning of October 7, 2006.

I suppose that this is as good a time as any to reveal that the Sursum Corda Library, where my latest single member district meeting took place, received a bullet the evening before, on May 18th. The police came by during the meeting to take the library attendant's report.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

New Video Store Opening on North Capitol Street

Meet Mehalon Lowe, our neighborhood's newest hero. He is opening Video North Capitol next to Full Yum, near the intersection of Florida Avenue and North Capitol Street.

He is a hero because when our crew canvassing North Capitol tonight suggested that he consider not putting up plexiglass, he readily agreed to give it a try. His courage is an inspiration to us all, and he joins businesses Big Bear Cafe (1700 1st Street N.W.), Jam Doung (1726 North Capitol Street N.W.) and Windows Cafe (101 Rhode Island Avenue N.W.) in advancing the glass-free approach that fosters positive interaction between businesses and residents.

The video store will focus on the Blockbuster crowd-- action, drama, comedy --rather than those interested in "adult" media. With pricing at between $3 and $4, his rates will be competitive with Blockbusters' $4.75 storefront pricing, and his location will be an amenity. Mehalon will have a lot of VHS format on hand, which reflects the demographics of the area and also allows him to carry older movies.

Mehalon has four children and has experience running a video store in Adams Morgan. The tentative opening date of Video North Capitol is mid-to-late June.

Replace Graffiti with Art

Tonight, Ted McGinn, Caro Alcuaz, and I walked up and down North Capitol Street cataloging graffiti by pen, paper, and digital camera.

There is a ton of graffiti, much of it small and not immediately obvious. None of this graffiti approaches the skill demonstrated by artists affiliated with the Borf Brigade, who we are in the process of contacting in order to tap their talents. We also picked out some potential locations for large murals, and artists will be needed to design and execute the murals.

After we catalog the art, we will work with the D.C. government to eliminate graffiti on public property and secure consent forms from property owners.

In the photo above, you will see old posters from ANSWER that announced an anti-war protest in March. Now the posters located throughout the city are deteriorating and an eyesore. I will bring this environmental degradation to the attention of progressive ANSWER.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Borf Exhibition is a Bore

This past Friday, a resident informed the community via the Eckington listserv that she had found a postcard, similar to the one pictured above, lying on the ground. The postcard announced that an art exhibition (titled The Consolation of Ruin) would take place over the weekend to celebrate the legacy of "Borf," the work of a juvenile delinquent named John Tsombikos from Great Falls, Virginia, whose artistic graffiti vandalized at least 100 D.C. locations until he was apprehended in 2005. (Washington Post story here.) A visit to the website listed on the postcard revealed that the exhibition would be located in our neighborhood.

Some residents responded to this information that they were "happy there's to be more art in the neighborhood too, as well as more creative youth culture. " Others countered to the tune of "Defacing people’s property isn’t art." I decided to visit the opening night this past Friday myself.

I've posted some pictures of the exhibit on this space (click on photos for a larger view). More than half the exhibit is not graffiti, but hangings, executions, smashed furniture, and a Borf shrine. It is all rather nihilistic and depressing.

I don't believe that the exhibition attenders (approximately 95% of whom were white incidentally, at an exhibit located in a 95% black neighborhood), were there to feel compassion for the residents of D.C., who wake up every morning to the graffiti that has rained down upon their neighborhoods. (More on the current graffiti situation here.)

My conclusion: It's protected free speech, one can argue that it's pretty good art, but it was not a class act to hold the exhibition in our neighborhood. We already have occasional moments of anarchy in our neighborhood, we don't need anarchist art. We need art that uplifts the spirit. For example, why not create art reflecting moments when people of all races and economic backgrounds work together to improve our communities? "Borf" (and his imitators such as "Magic") is about the graffiti artist himself. It's egocentric and it's boring.

The exhibition is located at 1644 North Capitol Street N.W., right next to Savemore supermarket. A resident pointed out to me tonight after the Eckington Civic Association meeting that the Savemore has new graffiti that appeared after the exhibition opened (pictured here to the left). It is ironic; perhaps a local tag artist drew inspiration from the exhibition. I spoke with the owner tonight and he confirmed that the graffiti is new. One resident tonight has a message for all Virginia graffiti artists: "Why don't you go tag McLean?"

For additional photos of the exhibit, this blog has some high quality pics.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Single Member District Meeting Tomorrow

Feel free to post miscellaneous comments concerning the neighborhood here.

Don't forget: I will be holding my monthly meeting with 5C02 residents tomorrow, Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 11 a.m. at Sursum Corda Community Library (135 New York Avenue, N.W.)

NCMS Open House at Big Bear Cafe

Here are some late-breaking photos from the North Capitol Main Street economic development group reception at the Big Bear Cafe held on April 27th.

A large number of neighbors enjoyed food, wine, and cappuccinos. Anticipation surrounding the official opening of Big Bear continues to build.

Photos: Eckington Civic Association members Charlene McCullers and Joel Dubenitz are pictured to the right (click on the photo to get a good look at the kid peeking at the camera behind them). Assisting with the event are NCMS board members Tom Usselman and Karen Alston, pictured to the left.

Commissioner Stuart Davenport (5C-03), who owns Big Bear, stood up and made some comments, including another announcement about the upcoming Farmer's Market. Those present demonstrated their appreciation of his efforts with a big round of applause.

Rush Hour Accident this Morning

This was the scene around 7:30 a.m. this morning at the corner of North Capitol Street N.E. and S Street N.E. According to the police, the driver was not watching the road and then he had to swerve in order to avoid hitting another car. The vehicle made contact with the divider and flipped on its side. The driver was not injured in the accident, but clean-up blocked off the service road for at least an hour.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Neighborhood Meetings this Month

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Catholic University – Pryzbyla Center (NEW location this month)
For full agenda:

Bloomingdale Community Involvement Project .. Bertha Holliday
Eckington Row Condominiums Proposal ………. Ron Hanks
Grant Application: Edgewood Civic Association ……. Michael Henderson
(Potential Agenda Item) Proposed market at 85 R Street N.W. -- Shahla Blackmon

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr.

will host a


Legislation to Relocate Displaced Adult-Themed
Establishments to Ward Five

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Bethesda Baptist Church 1808 Capitol Avenue N.E.
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Monthly Police Department PSA Meeting with Residents
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Harry Thomas Recreation Center — 1743 Lincoln Road, NE

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
5C-02 Meeting with
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Kris Hammond
Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 11 a.m.
Sursum Corda Community Library
135 New York Avenue, N.W.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Welcome to the New Blog

Today I am (finally) launching a new blog dedicated to the constituents of ANC district 5C-02.

I will be moving post-election posts from the campaign blog to this one for a sense of continuity.