The Life In Mount Vernon Square Blog has moved!

We have a new look and a new way to post, please email Sam Shipley to have your blog post posted on the website.

MVSNA Board

Posted in blog | Tagged | 33 Comments

K Street Streetscape Ribbon-Cutting

K Street Ribbon Cutting Festival – June 1 from 12:00-4:00

On Saturday, June 1, 2013, the K Street streetscape will officially be opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor Vincent Gray and DDOT Director Terry Bellamy.


The event will be held from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. (ribbon cutting at 1:30) at the intersection of 5th and K Streets, NW.

The festival will celebrate the completion of the streetscape with an afternoon of music, food, fun, and arts and crafts.  Restaurants will provide a Taste of the Triangle, a stage will be programmed all day, and a moon bounce, ball crawl, spin art, balloon crafter, rap artist, and other children’s activities will be available throughout the afternoon.

This event is organized by MVTCID and sponsored by ANC6E, m.flats – Mount Vernon Triangle, Quadrangle, The Wilkes Company, with in-kind support by DDOT, DSLBD, and DCRA

– Bill McLeod
Mount Vernon Triangle CID

Advertisement
Posted in blog | 1 Comment

Santa coming to the Triangle this Thursday!

On Thursday, November 29, the Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District will hold its third annual Photos with Santa Claus event from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at the intersection of 5th and K Streets, NW. Children, and those young at heart, are invited to meet Kris Kringle, give him their wish list, and pose for a photo at his new workshop. All children will be given a candy cane – if they have been nice throughout the year.

Photos will be available just in time to use for holiday cards. Images taken by staff will be uploaded on the MVTCID Facebook page, and guests are welcome to bring their own cameras to use.  This event is free and open to the public and will go on snow or shine!

Thank you!

Bill McLeod, Executive Director
Mount Vernon Triangle CID
901 4th Street, NW
Washington DC  20001
work (202) 216-0511 ext. 23
fax (202) 216-0514
bill@mountvernontriangle.org
www.mountvernontriangle.org

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Candidate for ANC 6E03 – Kennith James

I recently sent an e-mail questionnaire to all the candidates running for office in the new ANC6E.  As the answers come in, I’ll post them to the MVSNA blog and send them out on the Shaw and Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood list-serves.  Feel free to relink.  – Sam Shipley, President, MVSNA

Here are the responses from Kennith James – candidate for ANC 6E03.

ANC CANDIDATE QUESTIONAIRE
Kennith James
for
ANC COMMISSIONER 6E03

1.  Please introduce yourself and describe your background. 
I was born in DC, Freeman’s Hospital. My mother owned a house right on 5th and Q. Street

2.  What led you to want to run for ANC?

I started to attend a few ANC meetings and found a lot of information being processed, but when it came back to the people of 6E it would be watered down information if any at all.

 
3.      Describe how you view the role of an ANC Commissioner.

As a direct link to the City Council and Mayors office for the people of my ward, and let the city representatives know the people will be heard.

 
4.       What do you see is the biggest issue in 6E that needs addressing?

Employment, Drug Prevention, Activities for our children and senior community.

 
5.      What do you think is 6E’s greatest strength and largest weakness?

The diversity and the growth. Trying to get the community on the same page to grow and keep everyone informed of the changes.

 
6.      How do you view the sometimes contentious issue of churches vs. residents?

I am strong believer in getting people together and trying to come to conclusions on problems. It sounds easy, but I know it will take work and I will try.
 
7.      How do you feel about the Convention Center in terms of its impact on the neighborhood?

I believe it could do more, hire more of our residents, and STAY committed to keeping ward 6 residents employed.

 
8.     There are a lot of projects in the pipeline for 6E.  What will you be looking for from developers who want to build here?

 Accountability, I can’t express enough the need for keeping our people employed. That’s my stand.

9.      What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents?  Is it doing enough?  Too much?  Too little?

I believe the city should take the great idea of 1 City 1 Hire to a true level not just limit to clothing stores such as Marshalls and these fast food stores. They need a small committee to oversee the contractors and check they employed staff and not only take away they contracts if they don’t obey, but fine them for false records. Our city consists of federal and city government jobs. A lot of our residents have live in this area they entire lives, we can’t act like they don’t exist, we welcome the new residents of Shaw but we must remember when our streets were ringing with gun fire how through street patrols and our citizens, and MPD they reclaimed the streets.

10.  Is there anything else you would like to tell the voters?

I can’t make any promises about I can change this or I can change that, but I can promise this, I will voice the needs of my 6E residents.

 

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Candidate for ANC 6E02 – Kevin Chapple

I recently sent an e-mail questionnaire to all the candidates running for office in the new ANC6E.  As the answers come in, I’ll post them to the MVSNA blog and send them out on the Shaw and Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood list-serves.  Feel free to relink.  – Sam Shipley, President, MVSNA

Here are the responses (attached and below) from Kevin Chapple – candidate for ANC 6E02.

ANC CANDIDATE QUESTIONAIRE
Kevin Chapple
for
ANC COMMISSIONER 6E02

1.Please introduce yourself and describe your background.  How long have you lived in DC (or the DC area)? How long have you specifically lived in the new 6E? 

I am the current ANC 2C02/6E02 Commissioner. I moved to my current home in October 2000, a few years after I graduated from Howard Law School. When I purchased my home, all of the other homes on my block, on my side of the street, were abandoned. I was advised by several of my friends not to purchase my home because of the neighborhood. They thought it was overpriced and that I could get more home for the money in PG County.  In spite of their advice, I decided to purchase my home because I fell in love with the house and saw the wonderful potential that the Shaw neighborhood had and still has. Currently, all of the homes on my side of the street, on my block, have been renovated and are occupied.  The neighborhood has truly progressed since I first moved here. And all of my friends now realize that I made the right decision. Prior to purchasing my home, I lived in Bloomingdale, in an English basement apartment in the unit block of Rhode Island Avenue, NW. 

2.What led you to want to run for the ANC? 

Soon after I resigned my position in a downtown DC law firm and started my own law practice, I had time to pay more attention to my community and neighborhood. I met more of my neighbors and started to attend community meetings, including the ANC meetings. I was stunned by the dysfunctional manner in which the ANC meetings were conducted. It was far from an open and inviting forum where community members could come together, hear information pertinent to the community, and discuss their views with their elected representatives. It was more akin to a third world dictatorship that was controlled by a strongman who ruled his fiefdom with an iron fist. I realize that this description may sound over the top and dramatic, but those of us who were there can attest to the fact that this is an accurate description. At that time, the Chairman of the ANC, Leroy Thorpe, controlled 3 of the 4 votes on the Commission and could do just about anything he liked. Very few dared to challenge or even question the opinions or actions of the Chairman. Those who did would be publicly ridiculed, called names and yelled at. I once watched a young woman, in a respectful manner, openly challenge something the Chairman said. He then yelled at her and ridiculed her until she left the meeting in tears.  The treasury of the ANC was depleted every year and dispensed, by way of grants, at the pleasure of the Chairman to his political friends and allies, which offered very little benefit to the community as a whole. 

At that time, the community was undergoing a transformation as a result of re-gentrification. It was my belief that the Chairman used xenophobic fears to promote himself. It appeared that developers and proprietors who were forced to appear before our ANC had a negative impression of our community, based on the actions of those who represented the community on the ANC. 

Thus, it was my belief that such developers and proprietors would avoid engaging our community, if at all possible, to avoid dealing with our dysfunctional ANC. Additionally, it was my belief that for the community to move forward, the community must be strongly engaged and informed. I believed that the Chairman’s behavior did not motivate nor encourage strong community engagement. 

The Chairman had held his ANC seat for 18 years and had been able to electorally defeat all challengers. I decided that it would be best for the community if he was defeated and that I would support whoever challenged him. However, no one was willing to do so. So I decided I would.  This was a big challenge for me because I am generally a reserved, quiet and very private individual. In addition, I already had a very full life as a proprietor of my own business. 

Moreover, I did not have any desire to use the position as a stepping-stone to higher political office. In spite of these challenges, in 2006, I ran and defeated the 18-year incumbent. I sought and won re-election in 2008 and 2010. I am seeking re-election again for the same reasons I sought the ANC seat in 2006, for the love of this community, for my sincere desire for the community to continue its forward progress into the future. It is my belief that the divisive and antagonistic personalities of my opponents are not conducive to the continued forward progress the Shaw Community has experienced since I have become an ANC Commissioner. 

3.Describe how you view the role of an ANC commissioner.  

I believe an ANC Commissioner should be an advocate for his constituents and work to ensure that the community gets its fair share of city resources; should be a liaison between his constituents and the bureaucracy of the DC Government; should disseminate pertinent information regarding the community; should facilitate community discussions with Government officials; should motivate and encourage more community involvement; should address issues and problems that are of concern to the community; and should work to move the community forward. 

The ANC and the Shaw Community have substantially improved since I first became a Commissioner. The ANC meetings are now a more open, transparent and inviting public forum that is run in a professional manner. Information is freely disseminated to the public. Development has substantially increased and crime has decreased, while police attentiveness and responsiveness to the Community has improved. I have had a hand in all of these improvements.  

I have worked with anyone who has sought my assistance. I have met privately with countless constituents who needed my assistance in navigating the DC Government bureaucracy in zoning, regulatory and parking issues. In the same vein, I have worked with the proprietors of Beau Thai, Shaw Tavern, Bistro Bohem and Red Toque restaurants to obtain the permits and licenses which were needed for their businesses to thrive and be successful in the Community. I have strongly supported and worked with the developers of “Progression Place,” “CityMarket at O,” and the “Wonder Bread Factory,” just to name a few, to ensure that these projects were brought to fruition as soon as possible. I have lobbied for and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development has agreed to expedite the Request for Proposals process for Parcel 42, the large empty lot at the corner of R and 7th Streets, NW so this neighborhood eyesore can be developed as soon as possible. Speaking of empty lots, I have worked closely with Community Three Developers, who will be developing a 21-unit condo building at 435 R Street, NW, which is currently an empty lot and an abandoned dry cleaner and has been in this state for over a decade. Another overgrown, long-time empty lot which will be developed soon is on the corner of 5th and S Streets, NW, whose developer I assisted in his quest for zoning relief in order to build a two- unit flat. 

I have done my best to keep my constituents aware of pertinent information that would affect the community. When two organizations submitted applications to the DC Department of Health for licenses to open a medical marijuana dispensary in my Single Member District, I convened a public forum wherein the community could have a dialogue with Government officials and the proprietors of the organizations seeking to open the dispensaries. The proposals were not approved by DOH.  

More recently, when several residents on Warner Street, NW were victims of home robberies/invasions, I helped organize a block meeting in the home of a resident on Warner Street, which was attended by Councilmember Wells and representatives of the MPD.  At this meeting, we discussed how the DC Government and the MPD would address the crime issues that had been plaguing this block and ideas that the residents could implement to make their block safer.  

I worked with and supported the KIPP School in their efforts to build a world-class soccer field and dog exercise area at Bundy Field.   

 I convened a meeting with officials from DC Department of Transportation and residents who live north of Rhode Island Avenue, NW to discuss traffic calming measures, the process for widening the sidewalks on their blocks, and the planting of more trees. 

 When residents complained regarding how dangerous the intersection of 5th and R Streets, NW was, I lobbied the DC Department of Transportation and a 2-way stop sign was placed at this intersection.  When residents complained regarding the lack of parking, I worked to put in place a Residents-Only Parking restriction, as well as ensuring that each household subjected to the restriction received a Visitor Parking Pass. I worked to secure ANC grant funds for the Marion Street Garden, the community garden at Bread for the City and for the Dog Exercise Area at Bundy Field.  These are just a few examples of what I have done to carry out my role as ANC Commissioner.  

4.What do you see as the biggest issue in 6E that needs addressing?  

Economic Development and Crime.  

5.What do you think is 6E’s greatest strength and largest weakness? 

 I believe Shaw’s greatest strength is the racial and social/economic diversity of its residents. 

Another of Shaw’s greatest strengths is its location. Shaw is centrally located, on two Metro lines, with the Convention Center and the Howard Theater in our midst, and the downtown area, Chinatown, Howard University, and the U Street Corridor nearby. These characteristics make Shaw a very desirable place to live, work and play. 

I believe one of the greatest weaknesses with respect to ANC 6E is that more residents are not involved with the ANC. Being an ANC Commissioner is sometimes referred to as holding an elected volunteer position.  Individual commissioners are unpaid, and other than a meeting note taker, we do not have staff to assist us in carrying out our duties. Our ANC is relatively small compared to other neighboring commissions. There are four individual Commissioners and only three of us do work with respect to the community outside of attending public meetings. Commissioners Padro, Nigro and myself all lead busy lives and hold full time jobs (in my case I am a proprietor of my own business), and we cannot do everything we would like to do move the community forward, but we could do more if we received help from the public.  Our ANC has standing committees that allow citizens to become more involved in issues impacting the community. These include Alcoholic Beverage Regulations; Public Safety; Planning Transportation and Zoning; Economic Development and Housing; and Communications. Much to our disappointment, only the Communications committee, which helps us produce our newsletter, has had citizens volunteer to serve.  If more citizens were involved, our ANC could do more and would carry more influence with the powers that be at the Wilson Building and with officials throughout the DC Government. 

The ANC has received a lot of criticism from a very vocal critic, Martin Moulton, for not filing more Community Impact Statements. However, what Mr. Moulton has not disclosed is that he was personally asked to join our Public Safety Committee to help the Commission do exactly what he claimed he wanted the Commission to do, and to help the Commission to address other issues related to crime. For reason known only to him, he chose not to.  You can draw your own conclusions as to why.  

Another weakness is that there are personalities in the community who are divisive, polarizing and antagonistic towards anyone who does not fall in line with their personal/political agenda.  These individuals seem to relish attacking people as opposed to finding common ground and consensus. Such individuals are not conducive to a diverse community working together for the common good of the community. 

6.How do you view the sometimes contentious issue of churches vs. residents? 

The contention between the residents and churches usually arises from issues relating to parking and vacant properties. I believe the City should strictly enforce the parking regulations and should never allow parishioners’ cars to block residents’ vehicles. Additionally, I believe the City should do everything within its power to force blighted property owners to repair or sell such properties.  

7.How do you feel about the Convention Center in terms of its impacts on the neighborhood? What could / should be done with that space? 

 I believe the close proximity of the Convention Center to the Shaw community is a benefit and an asset.  But parking and traffic issues do pose challenges. I also believe the City should do more to support the economic viability of the businesses at and adjacent to the Convention Center. 

8.There are a lot of projects in the pipeline for 6E.  What will you be looking for from developers who want to build here?  

I believe any developer who is seeking a benefit from the public, such as zoning relief or tax abatement, if at all possible, should confer a benefit to the community, as well. For example, when Roadside Development, the developer of CityMarket at O, was negotiating its PUD, they donated funds to help finance the new soccer field at Bundy Field, among other projects. 

Additionally, when I met with the Community Three Developers, who will be building a 21-unit condo building at 435 R Street, NW, and a number of prospective developers of Parcel 42, I insisted that they all would offer at least a portion of their units as affordable housing, and that they would commit to give priority to Shaw residents with respect to hiring for their respective projects.  I’d like to make it clear that affordable housing is not the same as subsidized housing. 

9.What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents? Is it doing enough, too much, too little?  

I believe the City government should be responsive and available to address residents’ quality of life issues. As an ANC Commissioner, I have worked to ensure that this happens.  Examples of this are: the meeting with Councilmember Wells, the MPD and the residents of Warner Street, NW to address the crime issues which were occurring on Warner Street; the meeting with officials of the DC Department of Transportation and the residents who live north of Rhode Island Avenue to address traffic issues and the aesthetics of their sidewalks; and the public meeting I convened regarding the possible establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries in my Single Member District so the community could get their questions answered. 

10.Is there anything else you would like to tell the voters?  

Since I became an ANC Commissioner, I have received hundreds of calls and emails from constituents, proprietors, and developers seeking my assistance. The issues I have dealt with have ranged from zoning, traffic, and liquor licenses, to crime and abandoned properties.  I have even been asked to mediate a conflict between neighbors. I was not able to solve every issue that has been presented to me, but it was not due to a lack of trying. I truly appreciate the support that my constituents have given me and I do not take it for granted. I humbly ask for your continued support and vote on November 6, to help me Keep Moving Shaw Forward.

Posted in blog | 1 Comment

Yale West Open House! – this weekend

Join us at Yale West for a Fall-tastic Open House Saturday, October 27th from 11 – 4pm and Sunday, October 28th from 1 – 4pm. Warm apple cider and pumpkin bread will be served!

Lease This Weekend and Receive Up to 1.5 Months Free Rent Up-front on Studios & 1 Bedrooms plus receive up to a $500 Visa Gift Card.*

*
Expansive windows with panoramic views of DC
*
View the best of DC from a spectacular rooftop haven complete with salt water pool and relaxing lounge area
*
24–Hour Fitness Center
*
24–Hour Concierge
*
Easy access to Mt. Vernon Square / Convention Center and Gallery Place Metro stops
*
The best of DC shopping and dining is just a heartbeat away

Studios starting at $1,945
1 Bedrooms starting at $2,305
1 Bedroom + Dens starting at $2,580
2 Bedrooms starting at $3,000

*Plus $250 or $500 visa gift cards on select apartments.

Call now for details (888) 693-0509 or email us at yalewest@bozzuto.com

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Art all Night, Tonight around Mount Vernon Square

The second annual Art All Night Festival is TONIGHT: Saturday, October 20th from 7PM-3AM.

Art All Night is part of a new citywide collaboration to bring local arts organizations and artists together to present and initiate participation in the arts.  There are several sites throughout the Downtown BID district that will be activated through art and design.

One site nearby is TechWorld Plaza (owned and maintained by JBG) located at 800 I (eye) Street, N.W.

To pair with the installations, there will also be live music, a DJ and soundscapes.  Adding to the merriment, Fire View Lounge, part of the Renaissance Hotel, will open up their bar within the Plaza for Art All Night goers to purchase specialty cocktails, beer, wine and small bites.

The evening is going to be artful and exciting.

Art All Night is free, but please register your attendance through Eventbrite.  http://artallnightdc.eventbrite.com/#

Some of the MVSNA Board will also be there supporting the installations by Deirdre Ehlen, curator.

Posted in blog | 1 Comment

3rd Annual Pet Costume Contest

MVSN Pet Costume Contest – October 27

The 3rd Annual Mount Vernon Triangle Pet Costume Contest and Parade will be held on Saturday, October 27 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. Prizes will be awarded in three categories:

–Best Costume,
–Fashion Pioneer, and
–Best Float.

This fun event will start in the pocket park located at 5th and Massachusetts Avenue, NW (next to the House of Ruth). Pets should gather in the park at 1:00 p.m. — and at 1:30 p.m. will parade to the awards ceremony at 5th and K Streets, NW.

This event is free and open to the public, and will go on rain or shine. All pets are welcome to enter!

— Bill McLeod, Mount Vernon Triangle CID/BID.

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Meeting this Tuesday, Oct. 16th, 7:30 p.m.

October MVSNA meeting this Tuesday at 7:30 we’re still pinning down the location but will be either YALE WEST OR YALE EAST, few things for sure– we’ll have Bill McLeod from the Mt Vernon Sq/7th St- CID, and a rep from the Arts at 5th and I project– the long awaited hotel project, AND possibly refreshments from a newly-opened SWEET establishment. 😉  See you there!

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Candidate for ANC 6E05 – Marge Maceda

ANC CANDIDATE QUESTIONAIRE
MARGE MACEDA
for
ANC COMMISSIONER 6E05

1.  Please introduce yourself and describe your background

My name is MARGE MACEDA and I am a candidate for ANC 6E05. I have been active in the DC community for more than 20 years. I presently live in the K at City Vista and it’s been my home since 2008, when our building opened. Prior to that, I lived in ANC 6D in SW for many years. I live with my husband Dan and our dog Bessie. My son, Jon also lives in the K. My other son Danny lives on Capitol Hill and owns a new restaurant/bar on 14th Street called the Pinch. I have been a member of the Board of Directors at the K since we took over the building from the developers and have served as the treasurer and community outreach liaison. I have served on the ANC Alcohol Committee during the last 2 years. I have been a member of the Board of the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association as an at-large member and this year serve as the Secretary. Before coming to NW I served as the elected President of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly and worked on the community committees to get the ball park built, helped the assembly keep a free 12 page newspaper published monthly and supported the historic restoration of the old call boxes around SW, my favorite, being the one outside of 700 7th Street where a replica of a hat representing Dorothy Height was restored.

I recently retired. I have been an educator and have my Master’s degree in Education Administration and Supervision. I have taught in the DC public schools, run 26 child care centers for the Dept of Parks and Recreation and worked with the last few Mayors by sitting on the Commission for Early Childhood and the Commission for Special Education. I presently am an Associate Professor in Early Childhood for NOVA.

2 . What led you to want to run for ANC?

Having been involved in the community both in 6C (now 6E) and  Southwest , I decided that it is important to take action for what  I and others believe in. Don’t expect that “It’s okay, someone else will do something” really happens. When I moved to MVT we had parking lots, prostitutes and other not so nice things in our neighborhood. Well some of the parking lots are gone and new buildings replaced them. The prostitutes left for a while but always seem to want to come back. Groups like MVSNA and community activists keep calling the police and keep demanding change and it has helped a lot. Being a part of the ANC which is the Districts way of giving representation to its growing population is important. I want to know what businesses are coming to our neighborhood, are they willing to give back to the community and help it grow. Do the restaurants wanting to open want to have club-like atmospheres and bands and noise till the wee hours? Will deliveries and construction take place in the middle of the night? Are ALL permits in order and have all zoning requirements been met? Are the things important to the residents being considered and how long will the construction inconvenience the residents. I can tell you that many of the restaurants have been supportive of community activities and taken part in getting involved. The newest of these is Sweet Green, who has asked about having their employees help with a clean-up the neighborhood day.  I want to be involved and help our neighborhood grow and thrive!

3.  Describe how you view the role of an ANC Commissioner.

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, someone was throwing mothballs out in front of Museum Square, trying to make the dogs in the area sick, this was addressed and MPD called in to investigate. The traffic light timing at the corner of NYA and 5th Street and L Street is a total mess! Sometimes only 2 cars can get through. Something needs to be done about that. What’s going to happen to replace trees being torn down to put in underground wiring along K and L and 4th Street. As a whole, your representative should look at the “big picture” of things happening and work to enhance the good and correct the not so good. Mostly I think the representative of ANC 6E05 needs to be able to communicate with all the folks not just the computer savvy.

4.  What do you see as the biggest issue in 6E that needs addressing?

I see 2 issues that I feel need to be addressed. The first is the development of the new ANC to take into consideration ALL of the residents. Since we are being combined with a very active group formally in SHAW and our area is MOUNT VERNON TRIANGLE, there will have to be some parameters  set to establish our NEW area. Being divided by NYA will make some issues important to us while not so important to another SMD.  The second is that our entire area is growing by leaps and bounds and we have so many building projects and new retail that will be passing through the ANC for approvals both within our ANC and the ones that surround us, that we need to keep the lines of communication with other ANC’s open to work in harmony for a great neighborhood.

5.  What do you think is the greatest strength and largest weakness?

The leadership of the many buildings are hard workers who work tirelessly to make things happen in their respective buildings. As a growing neighborhood we should use the strength of these folks to become a network to make things happen. A while back Jon Thompson of the L and Thais Austin at 555 started a group for just that reason, I think we need to get that group meeting again for 2 reasons, to get information and to communicate back to the residents, what’s going on. Not  long ago, that HOA community group sponsored a Happy Hour at Tel”Vah to get folks together socially. I think we had representation from most of our SMD.

I believe we need to have better communication within the buildings of our area. At present, It’s hard to get information distributed to everyone. Yes, we can email, tweet, and  share on facebook, but we still need to reach the folks who are not in the techno world .I’d also like to see us get a dog park south of NYA, a community garden space and a playground. I would  like to see our community offer a Creative Arts Program like Painting or cooking or belly-dancing lessons though grants supplied through the ANC. Of great importance we need to support a quality day care program and recreational activities for our children.

6.  How do you view the sometimes contentious issue of churches vs. residents?

I’ve noticed that there are a lot of churches in our area. I’ve also noticed that many of the members have moved to other area or out of state and still come back to their beloved religious institution. Is that because they like the area and have grown up here or loyalty? I would like to see members   that do live here become active in the community not just the church community. Keep the church owned properties clean and well- kept  other than their sanctuary buildings, attend community meetings and keep the community updated on the things they have planned and ask for help and support. For example, while living in SW, one of the churches had to raze its building. That vacant lot was used as a community garden for the area while plans and approvals happened and in winter was a place to buy Xmas Trees. Now they are rebuilding with a new church and affordable housing as well as a meeting place and coffee shop for the residents. Because they were involved in community activities, they faced little or no opposition to their new site.

7.  The convention center is not in our ANC and I would hope that the ANC in that jurisdiction would ask us for advice and ideas.

8.  There are a lot of projects in the pipeline for 6E. What will you be looking for from developers who want to build here?

I expect that they will  take into consideration the needs  of the people living here when putting in retail. I mean shops and restaurants that serve not only the Monday- Friday workers but the people who live here. I’d like to see a nail salon, bakery, gift shop and a pet store. I have no problem with Wal-Mart, but I’d like to see some boutique type stores as well. I am thrilled to know we have a doctor that makes house calls in our neighborhood.

9.  What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents?             Is it doing enough, too much, or too little?   

The city can support projects and ideas coming from the community. Presently I sit on the downtown Playground Committee which is a group promoting playgrounds in WARD 6. Staff from our Council member Tommy Wells office are at these meetings offering help and advice along the way. Michael Brown has been in our neighborhood and has been helping to get legislation passed to change the rule requirements for affordable dwelling units (ADU) in our ANC as well as the whole city. City agencies have responded to the issues we have with blighted properties, identifying with our help and going through the processes to tax them accordingly. Each time we have asked for help and support, we have been helped.  I’d like to see these things happen more quickly, but I respect the processes we have to go through to achieve success.  I state again, as I work to get a community garden,  a dog park and a playground, I feel comfortable knowing I can go to the City Council as well as city agencies for help.                          

10.  Is there anything else you would like to tell the voters?

Please get out and vote on November 6th!  I know I’ll be at the Polls all day asking you to vote for me  MARGE MACEDA, the second name on the ballot for ANC 6E05.

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Candidate for ANC 6E05 – Matt Kozey

I recently sent an e-mail questionnaire out to all of the candidates running for office in the new ANC6E.  As the answers come in, I’ll post them here and send them out on the Shaw and Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood list-serves.  – Sam Shipley, President, MVSNA

Here are the responses (below and attached) from Matt Kozey – candidate for ANC 6E05

Candidate Matt Kozey – ANC 6E05 Questionnaire

Please introduce yourself and describe your background.  How long have you lived in DC (or the DC area)? How long have you specifically lived in the new 6E?

Sam – thank you for your service to the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood, your involvement is critical to assisting our neighbors understand the issues we face in improving the place we all call home.

My name is Matt Kozey, and I am running for ANC 6E05 (west of 4th Street to 7th Street; south of New York Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue). I was born in the District and lived in the metro DC area until elementary school, when my family moved to Indiana. I returned to DC after earning my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and my law degree from the University of North Carolina in 2009.

When I arrived in DC, I initially lived at 5th and H Street NE. In January of 2011, my fiancée Elizabeth and I purchased a condo in the L at City Vista (440 L Street). Elizabeth had been living in Woodley Park since 2005, and she and I were both attracted to the great potential of the area. Elizabeth and I were married in April and we are excited to begin our lives together in this great neighborhood.

As a husband, attorney, and policy researcher, I understand not only the systems governing life in Mount Vernon Square, but also understand what it’s like to be a homeowner in this vibrant neighborhood. It is my goal to use these skills and perspective to bring common sense, responsible government, and smart growth to Mount Vernon Square.
What led you to want to run for the ANC?
I have always believed in public service, forgoing private law practice to work on Capitol Hill and subsequently a non-profit research organization. But it was a personal event that triggered me to run in this election – our car was stolen in the summer of 2011, less than six months after arriving in the neighborhood. Luckily, the car was recovered, but seeing just one way in which the makeup of the neighborhood can affect its residents, I decided I needed to take an active role in the community. I believe it is up to the citizens of Mount Vernon Square to ensure that the upward trajectory of the neighborhood is maintained for all residents and serving as ANC Commissioner is the best way to lead that charge.
Describe how you view the role of an ANC commissioner.

An ANC Commissioner should be a dedicated, caring, and responsible advocate for all residents in the neighborhood. To be an effective advocate, the Commissioner needs to know:

What problems neighbors are facing
What solutions they prefer
How to enact those solutions

The first two parts of this job involve being engaged with people in the community – giving your ear and your time to your neighbors to fully understand what their issues are. The third part of the job is critical to being a successful ANC Commissioner. The Commissioner must know who to speak to about the issue and how to speak to them to achieve the desired results. Sometimes, although yelling might make us feel better, keeping a level head will be the most important job for an ANC Commissioner.

What do you see as the biggest issue in 6E that needs addressing?

Speaking specifically to ANC 6E05, the biggest challenge I see is managing the rapid change in our neighborhood. From the K Street streetscape project to new condo buildings going up, ANC 6E05 requires an advocate for the residents of this changing area who will urge for sensible development with community involvement. This means sensible neighborhood agreements with new businesses, ensuring the timely and safe completion of construction projects, and working with MPD to minimize crime. Achieving these goals will create a safe, livable, and vibrant community for the families in our area.

What do you think is 6E’s greatest strength and largest weakness?

To me, our greatest strength and largest weakness is change. In the time I have been living in the neighborhood, I have seen homelessness in front of a brand new Safeway, property crime in new residential developments, and nowhere for children to play. With the immense opportunity the recent development in 6E has given residents in terms of shopping and dining, I want to make sure that the growth is smart: adding affordable units in new residential developments, hiring local workers in new retail spaces, and creating safe places for the kids in our neighborhood to play.

How do you view the sometimes contentious issue of churches vs. residents?

First, I would hesitate to frame the question as an issue of churches vs. residents. Churches play a vital role in any community, providing people a place to congregate and practice their faith. However, it is incumbent upon an organization like a church to work with residents to ensure the challenges their organization presents are addressed, like large volumes of worshippers parking on neighborhood streets. Communication and dialogue are essential to the successful resolution of any disputes neighborhood residents may have with local churches.

How do you feel about the Convention Center in terms of its impacts on the neighborhood? What could / should be done with that space?

While the Convention Center is not within the boundaries of ANC 6E, it has an impact on our community. The vacant spaces within the Convention Center could be developed with more flexibility. Specifically, community input should be used in determining future development plans.

There are a lot of projects in the pipeline for 6E.  What will you be looking for from developers who want to build here?

Developers who want to take advantage of the up and coming neighborhood we live in will need to be open, communicative, and inclusive in their planning processes. I will look for developers to work with residents to understand their concerns and implement them in their future actions. Specifically, I would look for additional retail development, with an eye toward green spaces for residents to enjoy.

What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents? Is it doing enough, too much, too little?

Looking at ANC 6E05 specifically, the work the city is undertaking to develop K Street will ultimately be a great boost to economic activity in the neighborhood. However, there are simple items the city can take care of that will improve residents’ daily quality of life. For instance, providing the appropriate parking stickers and signage, prompt debris removal following storms, and increased police presence in high crime areas to deter criminal activity are areas for the city to improve its services to the community.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the voters?

I would like to say that I am pleased to be in this race, and if you want a dedicated, caring, and responsible ANC Commissioner who embodies the new ANC 6E, then vote for Matt Kozey.

Kozey Up!

Twitter: @mattkozey

Posted in blog | Leave a comment

Candidate for ANC 6E02 – Mahdi Leroy Thorpe

I recently sent an e-mail questionnaire out to all of the candidates running for office in the new ANC6E.  As the answers come in, I’ll post them here and send them out on the Shaw and Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood list-serves.  – Sam Shipley, President, MVSNA

Here are the responses from Mahdi Leroy Thorpe – candidate for ANC6E02.

 Please introduce yourself and describe your background.  How long have you lived in DC (or the DC area)?  How long have you specifically lived in the new 6E?

Greetings neighbors my name is “Mahdi” Leroy Joseph Thorpe, Jr., I am a native New Yorker whom have lived in the Shaw community since 1982.  I am happily married with children.  I am also the president of the historic East Central Civic Association – ECCA, our blog is shawcivic.org.  I am a DC Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Graduate Social Worker – I make my living as a career Licensed Graduate Social Worker with the DC Government.  I have written and published two volumes of poetry “Black Irony,” and “Poeting,”  I am also acknowledged in the book “Dream City,” and “Pipe Dream Blues: The War on Drugs and Racism.”  I enjoy spending time with my family, international travel and teaching and playing tennis – I am a member of the United States Tennis Association and was ranked number four (4) in Mens 45 singles.

 What led you to want to run for the ANC?  

I served 18 years as an effective ANC Commissioner shutting down 56 documented crack houses in Shaw and “Open Air,” drug markets prior to losing the election 2006.  I am running to forge alliances with other neighborhoods, take back the neighborhood from increased crime, find an innovative method to the parking problems, forge alliances with the DC Government to bring services such as snow removal in a timely manner, graffiti removal on homes and businesses and increased street lighting and of course constituent services.

 Describe how you view the role of an ANC commissioner.

Representing the interest of the people regarding liquor licenses, distributing equal and fair alloted ANC public funds to community organizations that meet the qualifications.  Serving as a liaison between the people and government and enhancing the quality of life i.e. public safety issues and DCRA concerns.

What do you see at the biggest issue in 6E that needs addressing?  

Race relations, crime, higher quality of street lighting, unemployment, juvenile delinquency, parking and viable economic development that caters to neighborhood needs.

What do you think is 6E’s greatest strength and largest weakness? 

Diversity is the greatest strength and the largest weakness – we need to talk more and socialize more to get to know one another and I believe we all want the same things.

 How do you view the sometimes contentious issue of churches vs. residents?

Some folks will automatically say it’s racism Whites vs Blacks – I disagree.  Folks after working all week and all day want to come home and have a place to park and get a good nights sleep.

How do you feel about the Convention Center in terms of its impacts on the neighborhood?  What could / should be done with that space?  

I told folks when I was renting on Marion Street and the ANC Commissioner for 2C-02 to buy some property because you won’t be able to live here long.  Folks said I was crazy the Convention Center will bring jobs – well not if you are high on drugs, can’t read or write and can’t get up early for hard labor seasonal jobs.  I took my own advice and bought a house while many folks were displaced by the Convention Center’s impact.  The site was too small to compete with larger Convention Centers in the country.  I would have created a livable community in that space.

There are a lot of projects in the pipeline for 6E.  What will you be looking for from developers who want to build here?  

I would have them sign a memorandum of understanding with the impacted ANC district to provide adequate parking, free space available for community meetings, jobs for the community, beautification programs for the impacted ANC district and seed money for neighborhood organizations.

 What do you feel the city should be doing to support the neighborhood and its residents?  Is it doing enough, too much, too little?

The city should make sure developers provide parking spaces for their projects so that it does not impact adversely on residential parking needs.

 Is there anything else you would like to tell the voters?

I want to thank the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Association for a dignified opportunity for candidates to get their message out without character assassination, name calling and down right evil intentions, which no voter should elect a candidate that participates in such classless acts.  Thank you and vote November 6th for Leroy Joseph Thorpe, Jr. # 3 on the Ballot for ANC 6E-02.

Posted in blog | 2 Comments