Mount Vernon Square District Public Meeting #3

Last Fall the Office of Planning hosted two public meetings to engage community stakeholders on creating a vision for Mount Vernon Square and the and surrounding blocks. An overarching goal was to create a distinctive and sustainable place that is a local destination and multi-modal hub.

OP has invited us to review draft recommendations and comment on priority projects that have been developed over the past year. Drafts of the plan will be made available by the DC Office of Planning for review and comment following the open house.

November 10, 2010 6-8 PM
Carnegie Library Building
Historical Society of Washington DC
801 K Street NW, Washington DC 20001

For past coverage of the Mount Vernon Square District project on this blog follow the MVSD-project tag.

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Endorsements for Adjacent ANC6C SMDs

To date the focus of the ANC election blog discussion has been on the 6C01 election race between incumbent Keith Silver and challenger Marge Maceda. Single Member District 6C01 covers most of the Triangle including all but one of our residential buildings. Yesterday I concluded that coverage with a formal endorsement of Marge Maceda.

Both the readership of the blog and the issues of our immediate community have reach outside the formal Mount Vernon Triangle borders. Single member district 6C02 covers the northeast edge of the Mount Vernon Triangle including one current residential building (Golden Rule Plaza) and one under construction (on L Street). To our south SMD 6C09 covers the eastern edge of Chinatown and Penn Quarter. The 6C09 SMD is an important ally to ours on the the ANC6C commission as they are a downtown neighborhood with mixed use issues and concerns. Much of the rest of 6C is comprised of residential rowhouse neighborhoods on Capitol Hill and lack the perspective to appreciate the challenges of a downtown mixed use community.

ANC 6C02: Vote for Rob Amos

The election in ANC6C02 is between longtime incumbent Mark Dixon and challenger Rob Amos. Yesterday the Greater Greater Washington blog endorsed Amos citing highlights of Rob’s record and Mark Dixon’s lack of email use. Rob has an outstanding resume of credentials having served on the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association and as a citizen chair of the ANC 6C Planning, Zoning and the Environment Committee (PZ&E). I could parrot a laundry list of specific accomplishments but his website does an excellent job laying them out. The PZ&E committee is especially relevant to the Triangle and NoMA due to all the new construction projects in construction and on the way. Rob’s proved his merit and clearly deserves a commissioner seat and thereby voting privilege on full commission meetings.

Mark Dixon has a strong record with regards to public safety in 6C02 and is a regular fixture at Police Service Area (PSA) meetings. While he doesn’t read email he’s been accessible to seniors and others living in his immediate vicinity. But as I cited in my endorsement of Maceda over Silver the ANC commissioner job is one that is large with a wide range of responsibilities. When the choice is between a candidate that will tackle all the responsibilities versus limiting themselves to their own comfortable niche I think the voters are best served by the more dynamic candidate. My other comment about Dixon would be that he’s frequently voted against recommendations from ANC6C subcommittees with no explanation or only a flippant remark. The committees perform dozens of hours of due diligence on issues each month and to vote against their recommendations a commissioner should have a thoughtful reason that they can articulate.

ANC609: Vote for Kevin Wilsey

Kevin Wilsey is the obvious choice as a successor to commissioner Charley Docter who is not seeking re-election. Wilsey is both a resident and the property manager of the Landsburgh in Penn Quarter. He’s lived in the neighborhood since the late 90’s and served on the Downtown Neighborhood Association Board since it’s inception. Kevin has been very involved in neighborhood issues through the DNA including helping create Voting Precinct 143 to help residents have a nearby polling place. He has worked directly with ANC6C on specific issues including the liquor license voluntary agreement for Hill Country (and possibly Carmines). Kevin would be a great ally for downtown residents within 6C and is interested in collaborating more with ANC2C as the two different ANCs split Penn Quarter and Chinatown down the middle.

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ANC 6C01 Endorsement: Marge Maceda

The ongoing blog coverage of the ANC 6C01 election race concludes with my endorsement for challenger Marge Maceda. I urge residents of the Triangle to vote for Marge Maceda on their ballot next Tuesday. My endorsement is based both on my observations of ANC6C the last two years and the due diligence I’ve done, and shared with readers of this blog, during the last two months.

In some contested ANC races around the city the challengers are wildcards with little, if any, documented credentials for the position. To vote for the challenger can be a giant leap of faith as you are unsure of what the candidate stands for and if they truly have both the energy and competence to succeed in the role. Our single member district is fortunate to have a proven civic leader like Marge Maceda run for the position. Marge lived many years in the Southwest community where she served as the President of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly for over 5 years. During her tenure as president of that civic association Marge worked closely with ANC 6D and gained valuable knowledge about zoning, permits, liquor licenses and managing quality of life issues. Her commitment to service is also evident in both her profession (school principal) and in our community (Treasurer at City Vista K). I feel very confident that Marge has the competence to handle the wide demands of the position and the commitment to be inclusive and transparent.

I have no doubts whatsoever that Keith Silver has his heart in the right place. He truly cares a great deal about speaking up for the unemployed and economically disadvantaged members of the community. Yet in my estimation this belief has manifested into an agenda that dominates his priorities and actions. At times his hyper-vigilance for this cause leads to unnecessary drama. The flood of emails he floated in September against the Walker Jones farm falsely attempted to cast the project as a “Land Takeover”. Other memos he has issued have used hyperbole as strong as “man made Katrina” to describe the demolition of Temple Courts. In June 2009 he preemptively picketed the future development site at 5th and I for violating the DC First Source Agreement when the project was still in land assemblage phase and years away from beginning construction.

If Keith was a model commissioner who capably handled the wide array of ANC responsibilities it could be overlooked that he occasionally stirred the pot with hyperbole. Unfortunately his participation on several major community issues has been largely passive. The civic leaders who successfully pressed to oust Fun Fair Video (a crack house masquerading as a business) informed me that the contributions from Silver on this matter were close to nil. Similarly Keith voted to support the voluntary agreements between residents and bars in the Triangle but left all the leg work to the neighborhood associations. Additionally I have not witnessed Keith formally serve on any of the major ANC6C committees that require due diligence throughout the month (PZ&E, ABL, Transportation).

Keith’s dedication to speaking on behalf of marginalized residents is valuable in a community that spans the socio-economic spectrum. I trust that he will remain a vocal leader in the community and DC First Source watchdog regardless of the election outcome. However the ANC commissioner role is best served by an individual that will actively engage in all facets of the job and remain calm in the face of disagreement. Marge Maceda is the best candidate for the job and deserves your consideration on election day.

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ANC6C01 Candidate Questions – Part 3

This posting continues the series of ANC 6C01 candidate questions between challenger Marge Maceda and incumbent Keith Silver. The 6C01 single member district is the most critical to residents of the Mount Vernon Triangle as all the residential hi-rises within our borders, with the exception of Golden Rule Plaza, fall within this district (boundary map).

To read the prior postings of this series follow these links: part one | part two

This past summer the Walker Jones School began a project to use surplus school land to start a community farm. Neither a public space permit nor a zoning variance was needed so ANC input was not required. Yet it is currently embroiled in controversy over lack of community input. Where do you stand on this issue and why?

Maceda: What a wonderful way to integrate young and old teaching and learning from one another to promote good health and healthy eating to our children. Many days as I go to work I see folks weeding and tending to the plants, I see children working to make their garden a cornucopia of good foods I have heard many residents asking how they can help, volunteer to help children and even offer to buy the produce so the children can begin again next year. Folks in our neighborhoods all have hearts as big as they are and are willing to support this project. The amount of pride for the children giving their product to a homeless shelter also teaches our children about responsibility and service to their community. Growing produce does not suggest that rats and mice will be feasting on the plants. Rodents prefer garbage. People deserve fresh grown healthy foods. When this garden began there were few people to consult with, now perhaps we need a committee/task force of gardeners and growers to offer our children the wisdom of there knowledge over the years through workshops and partnerships.

Silver: I am a 100% Pro-Green Commissioner, I along with 6C Commissioners Mark Dixon 6c02 and Lena Brown 6C03 have met with School Official along with Councilmember Tommy Wells and it is deterimined at this point that parcel of land is on Dept of Public School Property Research is being done at this moment to double check school boundaries with New Communities / Northwest One grid to determine exactly where that parcel of land and which jurisdiction has pruview. I support the school efforts until other information comes forth on this issue, if other info to the contrary surface we will continue to work with Walker Jones towards compromise which is in the best interest of all Stakeholders.

Editor’s note: Keith’s response to the question is very calm. But he did issue an ALL CAPs tirade against the farm in September.

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ANC6C01 Candidate Questions – Part 2

This posting continues the series of ANC 6C01 candidate questions between challenger Marge Maceda and incumbent Keith Silver. The 6C01 single member district is the most critical to residents of the Mount Vernon Triangle as all the residential hi-rises within our borders, with the exception of Golden Rule Plaza, fall within this district (boundary map).

For part one of the series follow this link.

As a commissioner, what will you be looking for from developers who are wanting to build in the Single Member District? There are planned development projects at 5th & I, all along K Street and the I-395 Air rights.

Maceda: When I lived in SW, ANC6D working with the SW Neighborhood Assembly were excellent negotiators. Developers were asked to give back to the community by employing residents to build the project by setting up apprenticeships leading to permanent jobs at excellent wages as journeymen. One developer was asked to supply space for the ANC offices as well as offices for the Civic Association with a meeting space for 150. Working together the civic association and the ANC encouraged a voluntary agreement and the developer built a great relationship with the community. Arena Stage entered an agreement to offer a Southwest Nite for all productions at a cost of $10 for residents. The Nationals have provided tickets camps and chances for the youth of SW to meet and speak with players as part of their agreement with with the community. Then Mayor Williams, took SW children to the very first game in Philadelphia as his guests for opening day. In our own neighborhood, we need to make our city leaders maintain the integrity of the Master Plan and follow it allowing activities to be on our sidewalks and park areas. There should also be a city representative who will work with the community to make that Master plan a reality, attend our meetings and give us updates when things are happening.

Silver: As ANC Commissioner for the past 4 years, I recognize the bottom line, by far is …that here in 6C01 residents are losing out on jobs because our government is failing to enforce its own law requiring local hires for taxpayer-funded developments as Mandated by the DC First Source, HUD Section 3, and other Provisions and requirements

we need aggressive oversight and enforcement of the District of Columbia First Source Program, which requires developers with taxpayer-funded projects to fill 51% of newly created jobs with District residents. We also need to ensure that the Direstraits Living Wage Act of 2006 mandating that city contractors pay workers at least $12.10 per hour is implemented.

We need to greatly improve job training programs in Construction Trades. Secondly, we need in this Single Member District to put young folk to work, and revitalize or start our own Summer Job Program, I say start our own because on the City Level, the youth program has been grossly mismanaged and allowed to waste taxpayers dollars. I readily without hesitation “picket these construction sites” it is the only option left to address the disappointment with the “Fuzzy Math” of the DC First Source Employment Agreement DC Law 14-24, D.C. Law 5-93, and Mayor’s Order 83-265

On one hand, Residents and ANC Commissioners recognize “on paper” the DC First Source Agreement… which holds Developers and Contractors responsible to meet their obligation that 51% of new hires are… DC Residents, …however, in reality, this simply just is not the case. I countiously protest “gigantic loopholes” in the First Source Agreement allows Developers, and Contractors to “tap dance” around the law by… simply by rotating their workers from site to site. Secondly, equally disturbing is the fact …. millions of dollars, and City Finances going towards these projects, in this City…single member district, yet …we only have one to three persons designated to monitor, these construction projects. …This isn’t exactly Rocket Science, we have here…I am urging DC Residents to go to your neighborhood construction site… take a visual inspection of the workers car tags, and suggests you have conversations or interviews with construction workers on site, … I am thouroghly convinced …it will become increasingly clear,… the DC First Source Agreement… is broken and in dire need of repair

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ANC6C01 Candidate Questions – Part 1

Updated (10/26/10 1:30pm): Mr Silver has provided his responses and I have updated the post to reflect them. Responses from both candidates are published completely intact grammar wise as I feel written communication competency is a qualification for the job. Some responses that went far beyond the requested paragraph/word limit were edited. In these cases I have only removed superfluous paragraphs that were either tangential or redundant considering information included in other responses. In these cases the theme of the given response was not impacted.

As promised after I published the ANC 6C01 candidate bios for challenger Marge Maceda and incumbent Keith Silver I have expanded coverage of this election race. The 6C01 single member district is the most critical to residents of the Mount Vernon Triangle as all the residential hi-rises within our borders, with the exception of Golden Rule Plaza, fall within this district (boundary map).

Both candidates embraced my plan for using the blog as a forum to spread word of their candidacy and agreed to participate. I issued a set of questions to the candidates  on October 14th and requested that the responses be submitted within 10 days. While my intention was to publish the responses from each candidate side by side Mr Silver is several days past due with his content. With the election less than a week away I feel the need to begin publishing without him.

Describe how you view the role of an ANC Commissioner.

Maceda:  As a commissioner, your first loyalty is of course to listen to the members of your single member district and what they feel are compelling issues. For example at 555 Mass Ave, they are being charged unexpected taxes for there vault underground parking spaces. A good commissioner would be helping that owner group to negotiate the system and to perhaps get those taxes lowered or eliminated. Valet parking during the rush hour at Buddha Bar should also be addressed, instead of jamming traffic up, they could be doing the valet parking from I Street. As a whole, your representative should look at the “big picture” of things happening and work together to address both good and bad. For example, noise/restaurant items are  happening throughout 6C and we should jointly work to solve these problems.

Silver: ANCs were intended to be an independent body that should voice the concerns of residents, give a community voice to ensure Developers, DC Government, and other Stakeholders to encourage them to recognize the concerns of the electorate, and Residents of our Single Member District 6c01. I further view, the main requisite to being an ANC Commissioner is one who is very, very passionate about the Single Member District they are fortunate enough to represent. That most certainly is my common denominator. An effective ANC Commissioner as a catalysis to ensure the DC Government works for “ALL” the residents in our Single Member District, 6C01. Our Single Member District 6C-01 is unique in the sense we are exact microcosm of the City, …we have the high-income District, 5 Star Restaurants, booming local businesses, however at the same time have Residents languishing in poverty and massive unemployment, lack of jobs and job training in the shadows of Development Projects, …yet this development projects are mandated by DC Law, to hire these same residents in question. ANCs were intended to be an independent body that could voice the concerns of residents.

As ANC Commissioner I have continuously, advocate for and implement solutions to the difficult issues that affect the lives of its residents. Throughout my career, I have led and worked collaboratively with others to make available programs and services to improve life for D.C. residents. I also spend a great deal of time simply ensuring that lines of communication between neighbors, residents, businesses and the government remain open and positive.

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