Councilmember Robert White, Juvenile Arrests on Metro, and Rats Highlight Busy ANC 4B Meeting

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B returned from its summer recess with a marathon meeting Monday evening at the Metropolitan Police 4th District Headquarters.  The meeting was still going strong when I bailed out around 9:30 pm. I saw on the Twitter.com that it continued for at least another hour! Those are truly dedicated commissioners and residents.  Here are my highlights:  

ANC Enhancements with Councilmember Robert White  

At-Large Councilmember Robert White paid a visit to the ANC to share information about a few changes in city regulations designed to make the Commissions more effective.  He is the chairman of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which has the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions under its jurisdiction.  He said, “One of the things that is important to me is to support the work of other elected officials who are working hard to represent their constituents.”  

CM White said that he immediately began working to strengthen the role and the service opportunities of the ANCs.  Here are the few of the ideas that have been implemented so far: 

  • The city has increased the allotment for ANCs by $122,000 per year. 
  • Language translation services for meeting and documents has been funded. 
  • $80,000 was set aside in FY20 for sign language interpretation services 
  • $100,000 will be invested in the creation of a new mobile app for ANCs. This would allow commissioners to communicate more effectively with their constituents. 
  • CM White will hold a series of hearings with ANC commissions from across the city to learn how the Council can support the work of the commissions.

In addition to these changes, CM White has introduced a bill to the Council called the “Advisory Neighborhood Commissions Participation in Planning Act”. This bill would give increased weight to ANCs when the Council is debating the city’s Comprehensive Plan for development.  

Furthermore, he has co-introduced CM Brianne Nadeau’s bill called the “Development Expertise for ANCs Act” which assists ANCs with negotiating Planned Unit Developments.  These large development project often involve complex interpretations of city regulations and law.  This bill hopes to level the playing field between developers’ professional legal staff and our part-time, volunteer commissioners by building the ANCs’ base of knowledge. 

Transit Police Report from Disturbing Juvenile Arrests   

On July 2, 2019, Metro Transit police arrested and handcuffed two juveniles outside of the Fort Totten Metro station.  In light of the rash of questionable arrests of children throughout the country this year, the July incident sparked a heightened level of concern in the local community. 

Transit police Captain Pete Sepulveda and members of his investigative team came to the meeting to provide an after-report and shed light on the circumstances surrounding the arrests. 

On the afternoon in question, Metro police were alerted to the report of an armed robbery on Red Line train stopped at Fort Totten.  Using video surveillance footage and eyewitness reports, they apprehended two suspects.  One was 12 and the other 13 years old.  Upon questioning, the 12-year-old admitted to the crime and police found the weapon (a knife) on him. The stolen property was recovered from the 13-year-old. At that time, the two were handcuffed and remanded to the courts for juvenile processing. 

Sadly, the captain reported that these same individuals have been connected to nine separate criminal activities around Metro since the time of this incident. 

The relationship between Transit police and many members of the public is fragile.  The multi-jurisdictional nature of the department allows it to operate outside of the layer of civilian oversight expected by city residents.  Though their actions appear to be justified in this incident, there is a long way to go to bridge the gap in trust between Metro Police and the community. 

Mayor’s Office of the Clean City

Director of the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City Julie Lawson came to share an update about her office’s programs. In addition to the Adopt-A-Block and Pet Waste education programs she mentioned during her last visit to ANC 4B, Ms. Lawson was promoting a Rodent Prevention initiative.rodent prevention

Some key tips for preventing rodent infestations around our homes include:

  • Keep trash can and dumpster lids closed and do not overfill the can.
  • Bag your trash before putting it in the can.
  • Reduce the amount of food you throw away by composting.
  • Rinse food waste off recyclables before setting out for pickup. (Do not bag recyclables.)
  • Place trash outside shortly before pickup.

You can learn more about Rodent Prevention and other Clean City programs at cleancity.dc.gov

Resolution Vote on the Second Look Act

As I mentioned, I left the meeting before the discussion on the Second Look Act came up. However, ANC Commissioners Evan Yeats and Erin Palmer both reported on Twitter that a resolution to support the passage of the Second Look bill passed.

Georgia Avenue Open Streets Event on October 5th

On October 5th, the city’s Department of Transportation will sponsor an Open Streets event on Georgia Avenue from 10 am to 2 pm.  Open Streets is an international program that temporarily closes streets to auto traffic so that people may use them for just about any activity except driving.  The goal is to support health, wellness, physical activity, increase transportation choices.  70 cities across North America hold similar events.

Open Streets

The Georgia Avenue Open Street will run from Missouri Avenue to Barry Place NW.  For reference, this is approximately the same route that DC’s former Caribbean Day parade used.  Car traffic and buses will be routed around their area from 6 am to 5 pm.

Special activities for the day will include bike rodeos, exercise classes, a rock wall, and three stages with music performances by local artists. Neighborhood businesses are encouraged to participate and share their goods and services with the community.

For more information, visit https://godcgo.com/open-streets-dc/

Children’s Hospital at Walter Reed Update

children's medical building

Irene Thompson from Children’s National Medical Center presented an update on their portion of the Walter Reed project. As you know from our previous reporting, Children’s was awarded an 11-acre site on the northern part of the campus.  The hospital intends to reuse three existing building and an above ground parking structure. These facilities include an outpatient pediatric care building, an auditorium and what they call a Research and Innovation building.  Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has signed up to open one of their J-Labs innovation incubators in the space.

Ms. Thompson indicated that the new facility should be open for business by the end of the 2020. She also stated that the new buildings will not have their own cafeteria because they intend for employees and visitors to utilize the retail offerings provided on the rest of the Walter Reed campus.

About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park and Lamond-Riggs. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.

The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”

These are the members of ANC 4B:

Single Member District Name Email
4B01 Evan Yeats 4B01@anc.dc.gov
4B02 Erin Palmer 4B02@anc.dc.gov
4B03 Scot Knickerbocker 4B03@anc.dc.gov
4B04 Brenda Parks 4B04@anc.dc.gov
4B05 Perry Redd 4B05@anc.dc.gov
4B06 Tiffani Nichole Johnson 4B06@anc.dc.gov
4B07 Geoff Bromaghim 4B07@anc.dc.gov
4B08 Alison Brooks 4B08@anc.dc.gov
4B09 LaRoya A. Huff 4B09@anc.dc.gov

Find your ANC here.

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