Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taking our cues from that former Alaska Governor I see...

My response to Marc Ambinder's piece on Michelle Rhee's Departure:

She has a plan allright...while Marc's piece is pretty balanced, I am sick of this martyrdom of Michelle Rhee crap...Andrea Mitchell's interview of her during NBC's Education Nation series a few weeks ago was sickening enough to watch. Michelle Rhee has balls, she's done some tough stuff here and kick-started much needed change but she burned a lot of bridges along the way and she seemed to get some perverse thrill out of it. I agree, all the talk about whether she would leave or stay was serving as a distraction but she's the one who gave those stories the most traction with her comments and body language. The lapdog media ran with it and so it gave her a very timely excuse to duck out. I am sure she will parley this into some lucrative self-aggrandizing deal (oops, I thought it was all about the kids Michelle). Reminds me of another public figure who blamed the media circus around her self-created drama to quit and then ralley her own band of followers and accrue the money and status that goes with these days: Sarah, oh Mrs. Palin, please do take a bow!

No wonder Rahm called this F***nutsville, although I might say that label could apply to our country more generally. Is there substance to anything anymore or it all just money and fluff?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Big Things poppin'

Helping out my partner in crime, the Advoc8te over at Congress Heights on the Rise...

Apparently something big is going down across the river in Anacostia on September 10, sure to sign up for an email notification with specifics and plan on kicking it that evening in Anacostia to see what's happening.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

Monday, August 2, 2010

ANCs...going rouge!

Community development/international development is my thing so in this 'federal city' that I presently reside a democratic body of community-minded individuals coming together to deal with neighborhood issues would ordinarily be a good thing.

The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions of Washington, DC in my opinion, however, don't cut it.

Of course, this intransigence goes ways back and extends to ANCs all around the city but most recently, we have the case of Big Bear Cafe's recent ABRA license support request to ANC5C that quickly went nuclear...complete with three postponed votes and a massive oppo dump once they did decide to go on the record.

This is further buttressed by a report from Rosedale Citizens' Alliance, of an ANC7D Commissioner apparently trying to shut down the Kingman Park-Rosedale Community Garden located in an interior block near E and 20th Streets NE. The purported reason are mosquitoes as a result of the garden's rain barrels and a generic claim that contaminated soil is being used to grow the vegetables/fruits. The neighborhood coordinator of the garden is adament that the rain barrels are covered with a mesh material to prevent access to the water by female mosquitoes and how ludicrous does it sound that a bunch of community garden folks would want to be growing food that they are actually consuming in "contaminated soil"...whatever the heck that means?

Do the ANC Commissioners who make these spurious claims ever bother to make sure their arguments are at least logical? This contaminated soil claim along with many of the allegations made about Big Bear simply sound like what they are...utter hogwash.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Partay time!

Some community events are coming up...two in the neighborhood and one in Anacostia that I promised my friend I would help promote. In chronological order, they are:

Anacostia: Never Far From Home > Opening reception July 30th @ 6:30pm

The Gallery at Vivid Solutions hosts Anacostia: Never Far From Home, a look at the past and present of Anacostia, with the help from local bloggers Fred Joiner (, Nikki Peele ( and David Garber( This interactive exhibition includes community participation -- everyone is invited to bring their own photographs to hang on the community wall and assist the gallery in telling a visual story of Anacostia. The exhibit will evolve over the course of the show, as local residents and bloggers react to and build their story.

(Contact us to be involved: / 202-365-8392)

Exhibit will be on display until September 10th, 2010. Melani Douglass will leading educational workshops during this exhibit, if interested please contact her at:

2010 Fellowship Festival > July 31, 2010 from 11am-4pm
sponsored by the North Capitol Street & Rhode Island Avenue Ecumenical Council of Churches

This community fellowship event will take place at the Harry Thomas Sr. Recreation Center at Seaton Place and Lincoln Road NE. Live entertainment, FREE health screenings, food/drinks, games, face painting, etc.
This event is free and open to the public...come out and meet Eckington and Bloomingdale community members in a fun and festive atmosphere.

First on 1st Bloomingdale Art Walk > Saturday, August 7, 2010 from 12-4pm
sponsored by North Capitol Main Street

Find it along First Street, NW (between Florida and Rhode Island Avenues, NW). Come out for live music, activities, and some outstanding art!

More information at: The Pink Line Project

Monday, July 12, 2010

Liquor License = F-bomb

Just came from the Eckington Civic Association meeting...

Thankfully, it was brief, especially since I screwed up the time and had to run up and down the street a few times, all under the watchful eyes of the neighborhood youths hanging out on the corner.

It seems like every community meeting I have been to (it's been awhile I know), whenever the word liquor license is dropped, someone might just as well have dropped the f-bomb or cursed someone's mother. Whenever those two words pass someone's lips here in DC, the tone of everyone changes and semi-confrontation is in the air.

Tonight, we found out that the firehouse on N. Capitol, a beautiful piece of architecture, is finally going to see life once more (some of us hope) as a restaurant and tapas lounge. The gentleman the developer has signed a lease with is from an immigrant background and has extensive experience with restaurant operations. Of course, once the white developer asked for support for their liquor license application, some people chose to get their dander up and make sure the developer fully understood that he needed to abide by a very strict process, at least with respect to gaining the support of the ANC. Of course, the ANC just released their draft guidelines this past week...they haven't even been formally adopted yet...but 'you better make sure everything is in order'. Oh and while we're at it, those of us who feel the need to show off our "authoritah" (think South Park) will ask you crazy questions like whether your property is actually zoned commercial and whether you're trying to sneak a 'Go-Go' club in under the radar on N. Capitol St. Seriously folks! I couldn't stay quiet on the Go-Go comment and noted that we could have a more positive view on the project but that went over like a lead balloon. The developer had the ultimate trump card in hand though, when he mentioned that there would be north of 100 jobs at stake in the project. Once the dog and pony show was over, we got around to approving an ECA meeting for the 2nd where the developer and lessor will make a formal presentation to the neighborhood folks gathered...and a subsequent vote to lend ECA support will follow on the 16th. You can be sure I will be at both meetings.

The ANC will be a whole different ball of wax and I am sure we'll run through the same liquor license 'respect my authoritah' charade again...ughhh...once again, wish some folks could liberate themselves from mental slavery (and I have some good reggae tracks I can cite to back me up on that point).

Before I new info on the shooting but will try to see what I can find out via the list-serve.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Heat is on...

Well, just into July now and I have been on sabbatical...not really, though I wish I was. Had some good job leads over the last month that took a lot of my attention and I have needed to focus on personal issues. Anyway, I am back...

Another reason for my lack of posting is the fact that I haven't been able to attend a lot of the recent community meetings and feel like I haven't been as up on the issues as of late. Checking out our Eckington list-serv just a moment ago...I have fresh fodder.

1) Apparently there was a shooting near the 100 blk of Todd Place late Thursday afternoon...that's pretty damn close to where I live. I am not sure on the full details but the ECA Meeting is coming up on Monday so I hope to learn more about what exactly occurred. Regardless, of the precise cause there has been a lot of "traffic" in the area lately and I am not talking vehicular. I just nod, smile, ask 'how's it going?' and move along but I am very perceptive and the vibe isn't necessarily the greatest.

2) My other message is to conserve power folks! I was reading about the miserable state of affairs for people in the southern half of Eckington and, from over at Frozen Tropics, I understand parts of H St. and Trinidad were also without power during this most recent spike in temps. I am sure PEPCO needs to do a much better job but, from the house I live in, I know we all could do better at keeping our AC set to reasonable temps and remembering to turn it down when you're going out, unless you have a pet or someone home-bound. Granted I am more heat tolerant than most but on my most recent days at home, while having the AC on, I do try to keep the lights off as much as is feasible and let in some natural light. Also, if you have a clothes line, dry your clothes outside in this blazing solar energy from above! Several of my neighbors have been doing that lately and I would join them, if I only had the line. If you really must use your dryer, do so in the evening when power demand is less. It's easy to blame the utility (and they have their issues) but we also have responsibilities too and need to do our part to help make sure our aging electrical grid can survive the extra burden when it's hot out.

Some more energy saving tips from our friends in California here.

In the meantime, stay cool!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The blogosphere roundup on Big Bear and the ANC

Here is a compilation of the other viewpoints circulating out there on this issue:

Prince of Petworth

Life on Edgewood

in bloom

Greater, Greater Washington > second item down

From Matt Yglesias @ Think Progress

Keeping Bloomingdale dry?

The Big Bear Cafe, one of the icons of Bloomingdale's community vibe, is now seeking a liquor license to serve alcohol as a restaurant establishment. This will be in concert with Big Bear's plans to keep longer hours and host various community gatherings and social mixers.

I missed the last ANC meeting where Big Bear was hoping to gain ANC support, which took place at St. George's Episcopal Church this past Tuesday, but you can find all the interesting details in this WCP piece.

While the final chapter has yet to be written and I remain hopeful that the ANC will ultimately see the importance of supporting Big Bear's ABRA request, it seems some commissioners were content to drag their feet earlier this week. Some hemmed and hawed about the slippery slope to crime and public drunkeness that would occur should Big Bear be allowed to serve a dreaded drop. What is always so ironic about ANC posturing on alcohol (not just in our ANC mind you) is that there is never any mention of the numerous establishments already selling alcohol and what the ANC commissioners are doing about the public nuisance that these establishments already represent in our communities. This tunnel vision and regressive thinking on the part of some commissioners who then seek to foist their myopic views on those in attendance only perpetuates the "plantation politics" thesis that I advanced back in December. Despite having 40 some odd persons stand up in support of Big Bear at this meeting (to the 4 in opposition), the ANC found it necessary to delay a decision on this matter...maybe, they need to go round up some more opposing voices or are hoping that the Big Bear supporters don't have the stomach to give up another Tuesday evening?

Keep in mind, the Big Bear's request was for the ANC's support of a stipulated license, which is essentially a provisional one provided that the ANC or any other entity or person doesn't lodge a complaint within a 45 day period. This means that the ANC could offer conditional support in the interim and entertain further complaints/comments to reiterate its support or revoke it and lodge a formal protest subsequently. Really no excuse for foot-dragging on this one...

Finally, make your voice heard on this > The ANC will now vote on this matter next Tuesday the 18th and Chairwoman Bonds has invited public comment

You can write to Ms. Anita Bonds at these email addresses: or

Please also write the commissioner for your neighborhood...if you don't know who represents your area, you can find that information below:


ANC 5C website

Monday, April 19, 2010

New park on our periphery!

Apparently the financing hurdle has been cleared and the park that will grow up from the rubble of the Eckington-Gage Elementary School will soon be a go...

Washington City Paper had the scoop here.

This is a great location for a park in the heart of what is one of the best neighborhoods we have around. I love how it integrates the existing Common Good City Farm (on the left hand side of the parcel) that is doing great things in urban agriculture and community building.

I heard that our Councilman, Mr. Thomas had apparently slowed funding down for the can follow that coverage over at Left for LeDroit. Apparently, he had concerns about the the end these issues seem to have been resolved and funding has been authorized. Glad everything was worked out....of course a deluge of emails from citizens can always help sway the powers that be.

I hope to have some pictures of the site soon and will fill you in as construction progresses.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rhode Island Station in WaPo

Read all about it here.

Class-A retail coming to NE...whatever that's supposed to mean. There's a 10% set-aside for "local" business owners so that's a positive sign.

The parking lot closes at the end of this month as the shovels move in...

Monday, March 29, 2010

The greening of Eckington...

I have been so busy lately but as I have been dashing about, I couldn't help but notice the new trees that have been planted along several streets around the neighborhood. Once again, kudos to Life on the Edgewood for reminding me that this was something I should be noting in my blog.

I just hope folks take proper care of these trees and they live as long as their leafy brethren lining Rhode Island Avenue...

You can sign up to be a steward of these trees to ensure their longevity here.

Park it while you can...

As preparations are made for the ground-breaking of the Rhode Island Station project, the parking lot sitting adjacent to the RI Avenue Metro Stop will close beginning on May 1st.

Hat tip to Life on the Edgewood...more info here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Keep the kids busy during their spring break!

Spring is finally here...hard to believe that just over a month ago we were waiting for our 30+ inches to melt. Of course, that means our youth have their break coming up and it's important that parents, guardians, and other persons who interact with our youth direct them into positive activities during their time away from school. Courtesy of Councilmember Thomas' office, I just learned that DPR is sponsoring Spring Break Camps for DC youth during this period. Please read below for more info...Ward 5 DPR locations that will be hosting these camps are in bold.

The following is a press release from Councilmember Harry Thomas' office:

Council of the District of Columbia Office of Ward 5 Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr.

For Immediate Release March 23,2010

Contact: Victoria A. Leonard202.727.8204(desk) -- 202.403.7866(cell) vleonard@...

Thomas Announces Department of Parks and Recreation Spring Break Camps for District Youth

Washington, DC - Ward 5 Councilmember Harry "Tommy" Thomas, Jr., Chair of the Council's Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation, announced today that the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will offer Spring Break Camps for District youth ages five through 13, from March 29 through April 2, 2010, from 9 am to 5 pm. The DPR Spring Break Camps will occur during the District of Columbia Public Schools' spring break, providing youth with a variety of structured games, activities, sports, arts and crafts, and field trips while school is not in session. There is a $25 camp fee for the entire week. Registration can completed online at or at the facility at which parents would like to enroll their children. Early registration is recommended because space is limited.

For additional information, please call the DPR Camp Office at (202) 671-0372.

Facilities open for DPR Spring Break Camp are:

Ward 1

Banneker Recreation Center 2500 Georgia Avenue NW (202) 673-6861

Ward 2

Kennedy Recreation Center 1401 7th Street NW (202) 671-4794

Ward 3

Chevy Chase Community Center 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW (202) 282-2204
Palisades Recreation Center 5200 Sherrier Place NW (202) 282-2186

Ward 4

Emery Recreation Center 5801 Georgia Avenue NW (202) 576-3211
Takoma Recreation Center 300 Van Buren Street NW (202) 576-7068

Ward 5

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE (202) 576-9238
Harry Thomas, Sr. Recreation Center 1743 Lincoln Road NE (202) 576-5642

Ward 6

Sherwood Recreation Center 640 10th Street NE (202) 698-3075

Ward 7

Fort Davis Recreation Center 1400 41st Street SE (202) 645-9212
Hillcrest Recreation Center 3100 Denver Street SE (202) 645-9200
Ridge Road Recreation Center 800 Ridge Road SE (202) 645-3959

Ward 8

Bald Eagle Recreation Center 100 Joliet Street SW (202) 645-3960

For More Information on Spring Break Camps for DC Youth...http://dpr.dc. gov/dpr/cwp/ view,a,1241, q,638907. asp

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Rhode Island Station - ctd.

More background on Rhode Island Station here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rhode Island Station is moving forward...

Well, financing has been approved and a ground-breaking date is set to be announced shortly, just in time for our beautiful spring weather on what will become a key node of development here on Eckington's doorstep.

It appears Rhode Island Station has cleared it's final hurdles after nearly a decade of being on the drawing board. Always a a fan of density around transit hubs...

More info here. Artistic renderings here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Constitution Square project...

I am a few weeks behind on this but we will soon have a Harris Teeter coming to NE along with a bevy of other new shops, including Potbelly's, Tynan's Coffee, and a TDBank branch.

Now if only my new community bank, Bank of Georgetown, would open a branch over this way.

Anyway, Constitution Square looks like it will be a pretty impressive development helping to solidify the ongoing cluster of development occuring around the NY Avenue Metro stop.

For more information on the development see here and here.

The Harris Teeter is projected to open in November 2010. If I am still in the vicinity come November, I will definitely drop in.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Remainders of Snowmageddon: Watch your step!

Now that our snow banks have largely melted, it's perilous walking out there. No, I am not talking about ice as our temperatures have been relatively balmy this past week, instead I am talking about massive puddles, mud pots, and also has to pay careful attention to piles of dog crap that litter our sidewalks on nearly every block. Thankfully, I have yet to step in anything but have had to pay just as much attention walking these days as when we really only had ice to worry about.

Really, it's amazing how few people pick up after their pets but when you look at how casually many people discard their trash in this city, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Seattle was pristine when compared to DC and when I was in NYC visiting, I don't recall the same level of dog feces and trash that seem to carpet DC residential and some commercial sidewalks.

If I have any complaints about DC so far, it's the level of uncleanliness in this city.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Support your local coffee shop: Half-price latte-week at Pound!

Just read that Pound (1300 B 2nd Street, NE, right across from NY Avenue Metro stop), the closest thing we have to a local coffee shop in Eckington is having special promotions all this coming week...please try to get out and support them. Apparently, they got hit hard with the snowstorm in terms of lost business (ATF HQ was closed and Metro station across from them was above ground). These are the kinds of businesses we need in our neighborhoods so please check them out this coming week...they have both drink and eats specials so whatever you have a hankering for, they should be able to fix you right up. More on Pound from their owners below and their specials calendar for the week can check out their website here.

Pound is a very unique premium coffee shop and cafe that specializes in what we like to call "comfort food from around the world." Pound is in the rapidly growing area of NoMa, right across from the NY Ave Metro on 2nd St NE. With a daily Rice & Spice hot lunch special from a different region of the world everyday, on top of our fair trade, organic coffee and special hand-crafted lattes and drinks, we really feel that Pound is something rather special in an area most Washingtonians haven't visited. Both I and my business partner are travel, culture and food obsessed people and we bring those passions into everything we do at Pound. We believe so strongly in what we have to offer that we are launching a half price latte special all week next week from Monday 2/22 through Friday 2/26. All espresso based drinks are 50% off!n We even have a few custom drinks we've created that will be featured each day (Nutella latte anyone?)!

Half Price Latté Week! All espresso based drinks are 50% off regular prices from Monday (2/22) through Friday (2/26). Featured Daily Drinks Monday: Nutella Latte Tuesday: Chocolate Raspberry Mocha Wednesday: Gingerbread Latte Thursday: Peppermint Patty Mocha Friday: Crème Caramel Latte Daily

Lunch Rice & Spice Special ($6.95 everyday) Monday: Feisty Fajitas w/ Shrimp and Chicken Tuesday: Spanish Paella con Pollo y Chorizo Wednesday: Curry Wednesday! Chicken and Sweet Potato Yellow Curry Thursday: Tuna Casserole Friday: Falafel Slider Friday! Homemade Falafel, as good as it get

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Advocates of your neighborhood Safeway unite...

Some members of the Edgewood, Brentwood, and Eckington neighborhoods have rallied to the defense of the Safeway in the RI Avenue Shopping Center. Some coverage here.

Advocates seem to have secured the involvement of Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. to push for keeping the neighborhood Safeway.

As I already pointed out, I can understand the desire to keep this grocery store as it's a much more convenient store to walk to than the Giant. Comments in the City Paper article made it sound like people were lazy or that they had forgotten the fact that Giant is "just across the street". If you drive to Giant, than it probably feels like it's just across the street but to those of us who use that old fashioned method of locomotion, known as our two feet, it's definitely not just across the street. Especially for those who maybe senior citizens or who prefer not to venture out...navigating the roadways and parking lot up to Giant can sometimes be intimidating. Not that the RI Avenue Safeway doesn't have it's issues and I am sure that those lobbying to save the store were just as disgusted at the recent vermin issue but they still want a grocery store that is more walker-friendly and that's on a more "pedestrian-scale". That really is the future of neighborhood and urban development in the U.S....small, densely-populated nodes of development providing amenities within walking distance and that seems to be what DC Gov is going for in it's 'Great Streets Initiative' for Rhode Island Avenue. Of course, we'll see how well that plans holds up and whether it takes into account what residents actually need instead of building some pie-in-the-sky flashy monstrosity.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowmageddon Fallout...

Well, I think I am still on planet Earth...crazy drifts, buried cars outside but all seems Earthly enough. Sunday afternoon, I got out to evaluate the situation post-Snowmageddon. I had been calling that storm Snowpocalypse but apparently that was the name of our Dec. 19th storm...I didn't even know it had gotten a name. Anyway, our latest edition striking Tuesday night and yesterday was Sn'overkill...doubt I will get any pictures of that today but maybe by tomorrow, I will have a few.

Also, I found out, courtesy of eckington...way better than spotsylvania blog, that some Eckington denizens constructed an igloo down off of Eckington Place and across from Sirius XM's offices. I will hope to check this out doesn't look like there will be too much melting today so hopefully it will still be around by then but you can check out EWBTS to see the pics. Now on to Snowmageddon pics:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The local Safeway predicament...

Safeway was my favorite grocery store when I lived in Seattle but since coming to DC, I have not been as impressed with the stores here. I would still shop at the one on Rhode Island but the produce selection was often lacking and the checkouts seemed too few (w/ no self-checkout) for the volume of business the place receives. I do like the location though as the Giant (having to go under the railroad overpass) often seems farther than I want to journey when I just need to pick up a few items on the spur of the moment. Anyway, it's with good reason that I viewed this Safeway with a bit of skepticism (compared to the ones in Seattle)...several weeks ago they found evidence of a rodent infestation at the store and were ordered to close on the spot by the health inspector.

You can read the full report here.

Of course, I am a little behind on this story between temping and some positive leads on the job front so my apologies. The store subsequently reopened two days later...

But now word is the store will be closing permanently...News Channel 8 reports here. Of course, the article outlines how they are loosing quite a bit of business to Giant but as many people interviewed mentioned and I concur, the Safeway is in a more convenient location than the Giant for those who are traveling via foot or bus. If you're hopping off MetroRail at the RI Avenue station, Giant is convenient but other than that, the store is essentially geared towards folks who drive. Word on the street is that another grocery store may take Safeway's place but the size of the space and the existing dynamics cited as the reasons for closing would remain unchanged so not sure what other grocery purveyor would be able to succeed in that environment. While I now will have a bit longer grocery store run at least I won't need to worry about rodents cavorting with my food.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

FLY Bake Sale today!

If you're looking to get out and about today, despite the wintry weather bearing down on us, you simply must stop in at 2021 MLK Jr. Avenue in Anacostia to support some motivated young women. What will you find there?

Well, FLY (Facilitating Leadership in Youth) is hosting a bake sale to raise funds to cover the cost of the various workshops they participate in and a Debutante Ball that takes place in June, at the conclusion of their 9 month program.

So head on over from 12-3pm today and get some tasty baked goods...especially with this cold weather upon us!

To learn more about FLY, please visit their website or their Facebook page.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Go's good for you and for your community

Anyone who knows me can tell you what an enthusiast I am about local, sustainably produced food...although, I will be the first to admit I cannot always afford to eat that way, particularly now as I continue to search for full-time, permanent employment.

Beyond food though, I really try my best to support local businesses and I finally turned my frustration into action in the banking arena. This past week, I began moving my money out of Bank of America. My choice of where to go centered on the Library of Congress Federal Credit Union and Bank of Georgetown. In the end, I decided to go with the Bank of Georgetown...there were certain signs pointing in that direction, which I won't go into here. However, I am still considering the credit union for when I close one of my current credit cards (they just upped my rate even though I have a long and stellar history with them). That's probably still a month off but at least my deposit accounts will soon be fully supporting a local institution versus the Charlotte-based behemoth. What's ironic is that I am a BofA shareholder since late 1998. Of course, the stock has been pummeled over the last few years and I am hoping it regains a little of its value before I dump it sometime before the end of this calendar year.

Anyway, I digress...but seriously folks, consider local banks, credit unions, businesses, and other institutions when making your consumer choices. Research and study has generally found that healthy local institutions make for vital consumers we can be smart and discerning and, brick-by-brick, help build more enriching and sustainable communities.

St. Martin's Apartments...a saintly presence?

If you've lived in the area anytime over the last several years you have undoubtedly heard of the debacle that has surrounded the construction of a housing complex at the former St' Martin's Convent School site. I won't rehash the battle royale that can check out the links below to learn more, although I believe these links are just a sampling of the media coverage that has been devoted to this project.

It's safe to say though there was/is a lot of money riding on this project from the city, Feds, etc. and it had the patina of a social justice project in action...whether long term benefits will accrue to the neighborhood however is still in doubt. As the last article from City Paper points out, the project is slated for completion in late 2010 and probably won't be reasonably occupied until end of Q1 2011. Despite the PR out of St. Martin's Catholic Church, the proof of the pudding will be in the eating beginning in 2011...whether the taste will be sweet or bitter, we will just have to wait and see.

One thing that is for certain is that the church and its allies acted in a 'high-handed' matter, based on what I have read to date. It's amazing how many development projects in this city have similar stories...a largely minority community being left out of consultative process for the most part until the shit hits the fan, and then the powers that be pretend that they meant to include you all along, meanwhile painting you as greedy and racist (paraphrasing Fr. Kelly). Of course, as always its easier to cast aspersions after you have got what you want vs. doing the nitty-gritty work of collaborating with the community to design a project that is agreeable to largest number of folks. Instead, the church (one of the last organizations you would suspect) sows more seeds of discord along the furrows of race and power rather than using it's prerogatives for furthering peace and justice.

I still reserve final judgement on this may turn out to be a boon for the community but based on my extensive education and experience in community development, the process of how development occurs is just as important as the final 'product'...however, in our consumer/results-oriented society we're always ready to sacrifice social justice and our shared humanity on the altar of money. Very sadly, I guess the Catholic Church in DC is no different.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Help Haiti!

To assist with the very acute medical needs on the ground in Haiti, Partners in Health is the best organization to donate to...
Stand With Haiti

You can also donate to Yele Haiti

If you have a specific interest in ensuring the water and sanitation needs of the Haitian people, please direct your contribution to OxfamAmerica.

Between the situation in Haiti, the very real blessing of temp assignments, and the job search revving back up after the holiday lull, I have been derelict with respect to the blog, but I promise another post shortly.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2000-2009 - Eckington's Decade?

Apparently 2000-2009 was Eckington's decade as we got a shout-out in WaPo's:

A look back at 2000-09 in Washington

"Neighborhoods that had always been here found new life. Eckington, Bloomingdale and Congress Heights became buzzwords beyond their borders."

The full article can be found here.

Of course, Eckington and Bloomingdale are contiguous so this area is undergoing quite a revival, although it's effects are muted in this particular economic climate. I think their proximity to LeDroit Park and the U-Street Corridor are very helpful and when the economy recovers (eventually), there should be more positive developments in the area. As long as developers and city government consults with and includes local people in the process instead of kicking them to the curb, we should be able to embrace it wholeheartedly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, we've arrived in 2010...I spent a week at my parent's house in Massachusetts just after our snowstorm so that's why there hasn't been much on here recently. I will hope to do some digging over the weekend to see what has been going on in our fair neighborhood and get us up to date.

In the meantime, peace and blessings to everyone in 2010!