Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Will Warehouse Be Next Door?

From DCist and reprinted by the Truxton Circle Dispatch:
The curtain over the Warehouse Arts Complex that we've watched being pulled down by enormous tax hikes and aggressive developers around the new Convention Center is, sadly, finally scheduled to fall, at least in part. City Desk reports today that the Warehouse Next Door, site of off-the-wall, sometimes experimental music events, as well as the Bar & Cafe will close for good on July 30.
This is unfortunate news, but there may be a silver lining for our neighborhood. I'm pleased to report that I met with Warehouse owner Paul Ruppert this past Saturday, in conjunction with key residents, another commissioner, and representatives from North Capitol Main Street, Inc. The purpose of the meeting was to brief him on the available building stock in Bloomingdale and Eckington, and obtain a sense of his business needs.

Paul and his partner (his mother) are a very creative duo. I'll hold off on specifics, but one interesting thing that Paul said is that he would fit the business or project to the space. Some projects would be for-profit, while others would seek the lease of a building for a nominal amount for non-profit art exhibits. Paul envisions opening up opportunities throughout the city, and we hope he will find at least one place to land in Eckington or Bloomingdale.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Reflections on the June ANC 5C Meeting

It has been one week since the last meeting of the full Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, but there hasn't been the usual buzz on the listservs, so I will provide some highlights that may be of interest to residents of 5C-02.

► Someone informed ANC 5C that now-former Commissioner Aaron Knights (5C-02) has resigned, this time for good. His district is located directly east of mine. Aaron is an attorney, and I can relate to the time pressures faced by those in our profession. You might see me disappear from time to time as well, but I don't quite have the time demands faced by attorneys in private practice.

►Dunbar High School hosted the meeting, and I requested that Principal Harriet Kargbo be placed on the agenda.

Through five minutes of questions and thoughtful responses from Principal Kargbo, the following information was revealed:

1. Residents have been asking about recreational opportunities at Dunbar, such as why the track is not open to the public. Kargbo: the swimming pool is open to the community, in fact it is run by the Park department. Hours of operation are from 4 - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The school broke new ground on a playing field set to be completed in August. The track has been condemned and the school hopes to fix it. However, even when the track is fixed, there is a desire to keep the gates locked due to concern about homeless people on the property.

2. The rumor that Dunbar will build a new building has no basis, at least as far as Principal Kargbo is aware.

► This meeting, like many other ANC meetings (one might say like all community meetings) went too long. There was no matter on the agenda that required our vote (except for the proposed budget, which we tabled for good reason), but the meeting still lasted for two hours and forty-five minutes. Ted McGinn and maybe one other individual from the community was actually present at our adjournment.

Our meetings have operated as a sounding board for the community, and there is a role for that at the monthly meeting. But ANC meetings should primarily be an opportunity to transact business. I love free speech, but I think there are more efficient methods. I propose the following rule: the meeting shall end at 9 p.m.

► Commissioner Phillips proposed that the Commission send a letter expressing disfavor of Pepco's proposed rate increases. I abstained, on the basis that (a) my constituents had not expressed an opinion either way, indicating that this was not a critical issue for them, and (b) we had not given a Pepco representative the opportunity to present Pepco's side. I believe that ANC 5C should strive to be a deliberative body and seek out all sides of an issue. If we do that, our opinions will be treated with greater respect.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Big Bear and the Bloomingdale Farmers Market

Joining the hoards of people currently plugging Big Bear Cafe, I added the following to my 500+ monthly flyers being distributed in the neighborhood: Indoor/Outdoor seating, excellent coffee and food, free internet access-- open at 6:30 a.m. -- 1st & R Street N.W. More info at:

I also added to the flyer this graphic announcing the Bloomingdale Farmers' Market, which begins this Sunday (I cribbed the graphic file from Sean Hennessey's blog).

I'm hoping that the flyers will help spread the word about these two great additions to the neighborhood beyond the Internet-connected-class of folks. Change is in the air.

Community Meetings Next Week

There is always one week every month where every night features another community meeting. A bit exhausting for residents, so Eckington Civic Association decided to move their meeting to this past Tuesday. But North Capitol Main Street held a committee meeting tonight and the D.C. MPD will be meeting with residents tomorrow night (a joint venture between PSA 501 and Le Droit Park). So that's three meetings this week.

Here's the forecast for next week:


Commissioner Kris Hammond will be available for community concerns on Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m., at McKinley Technology High School (151 T Street N.E., Room 158)

Thanks to McKinley principal Dan Gohl for his service to the community. Dan is being promoted within the D.C. public school system.


Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

7 - 9 p.m.

at a NEW LOCATION this month only:

Dunbar Senior High School

(Auditorium, New Jersey Avenue at O Street, NW)

Special Presentations:

Dr. Harriet Kargbo, Principal of Dunbar High School

Office of Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr.

D.C. Metropolitan Police Department

For full agenda:


D.C. Metro Police Dept., PSA 501 N.E.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

7 - 8:30 p.m.

Beacon House, 601 Edgewood Street NE.

Contact: Michael Henderson 202-529-0571


North Capitol Main Street, Inc. is hosting a community business forum on June 21 at 7 p.m. at McKinley Technology High School. The forum is designed to building a better understanding between residents and local businesses.

You get to take Friday off.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Nationally-recognized Author to Speak at June 21 North Capitol Street Business Forum

North Capitol Main Street, Inc. (NCMS) is hosting a community forum on June 21 at 7 p.m. at McKinley Tech High School. The forum is designed to building a better understanding between residents and local businesses.

The tentative theme for the meeting is "Be Vocal, Buy Local." NCMS will announce the results from its survey of both local businesses and residents. The goal is for local businesses to better understand what residents want the businesses to provide. Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. is scheduled to moderate the meeting.

Michael Shuman, an attorney and economist, and author of the book The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition will be the featured speaker. He has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, and Parade. Shuman has also appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including the Lehrer News Hour and NPR's "Talk of the Nation."

Official description of his most recent book is as follows:
Defenders of globalization, free markets, and free trade insist there's no alternative to mega-stores like Wal-Mart -- Michael Shuman begs to differ. In "The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes a compelling case for his alternative business model, one in which communities reap the benefits of "going local" in four key spending categories: goods, services, energy, and finance. He argues that despite the endless media coverage of multinational conglomerates, local businesses give more to charity, adapt more easily to rising labor and environmental standards, and produce more wealth for a community. They also spend more locally, thereby increasing community income and creating wealth and jobs. "The Small-Mart Revolution presents a visionary yet practical roadmap for everyone concerned with mitigating the worst of globalization.
This has all the makings of an unforgettable event, and I hope to see everyone there who cares about the economic vitality of the community.