The Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B met on January 23rd in the Community Meeting Room of MPD’s 4th District Headquarters to begin its 2017-2018 session. Right from the beginning, the meeting took on a heavy parliamentary tone, as the members debated for over forty minutes on the consideration of the agenda and a discussion on a modified committee structure that was eventually tabled.
Once the agenda was set, Gottlieb Simon, Executive Director of the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, took the floor to preside over the election of officers. This process was completed quickly as the members agreed to a slate election. The slate was led by Cmr. Andre Carley who will serve as the ANC Chair. The other officer slots were filled as follows:
- Vice Chair – Barbara Rogers, 4B08
- Treasurer – Tischa Cockrell, 4B09
- Secretary – Brenda Parks, 4B04
Commissioner Tanya Topolewski was elected to serve as the Walter Reed development representative.
Community Concerns were next on the agenda. Some of the topics raised included potholes and street lights on Eastern Avenue, alley repaving, children’s playing fields and a gaping manhole cover on at the intersection of Kansas and Missouri Avenues.
Jessica Yanez of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United came to seek signatures for a ballot initiative to raise tipped restaurant workers wage commensurate with the upcoming $15 minimum wage that will take effect within the next decade. Currently, tipped restaurant workers can make as little as $2.75 per hour, which is not nearly enough to cover the cost of living in an expensive city like DC.
Another young lady noticed the ANC meeting through the windows of the MPD community room and walked into to share her disturbing story of disrespectful treatment by the owner of a local cafe. The lady uses a service animal, which she has documentation to support. Despite this, the cafe owner allegedly berated her for bringing the service animal into to shop. Commissioner Knickerbocker is familiar with the situation and pledged to follow up with Brandon Todd’s office to ensure that all businesses comply with ADA regulations.
Moving back to the regular agenda items, the commission agreed to a nine meeting schedule for the year, with meetings to take place on the following dates: 2/27, 3/27, 4/24, 5/22, 6/26, 9/25, 10/23, and 11/27 . The ANC also agreed to pay $25 into the ANC Security Fund.
David Sheon, ANC Commissioner from 4D came to discuss DC Community Carrot, a new non-profit organization which seeks to provide entrepreneurship skills to young men in the community. I will have a follow-up article on this exciting new organization soon.
East Rock Creek Village (http://eastrockcreekvillage.org/), one of twelve “senior” villages in the city which work to help our seniors stay in their homes as long as they are able, came to apply for a $500 grant to purchase promotional materials. A long and disjointed discussion ensued, which ended with the commission agreeing to fund their request, by a 3 to 1 vote (4 members abstained).
Finally, the new Starbucks at 232 Carroll Avenue NW is applying for a Board of Zoning Adjustment to increase the number of seats inside the shop from 24 to 50, and add 14 seats with tables outside of the shop, among other changes. After another byzantine and argumentative discussion, the ANC voted to support the resolution, with an amendment for the Starbucks to include “30 to 49 seats”, an “intrinsic path” inside the store and clear directional markings added to the pavement in the parking lot.
The meeting was rumbling to a close at 9:30 pm when this citizen gave up the fight and left to go home. While I certainly learned some things, I hope that future meetings will be run more efficiently.