City Desk

District Line Daily: Weed Seeds

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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Hundreds of people showed up for free marijuana seeds at a giveaway yesterday evening in Adams Morgan.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • The Circulator will run later into the night starting Monday. [WTOP]
  • The D.C. Council isn't telling Congress which staffers worked on pot legalization, for now. [Loose Lips]
  • Metro's new railcars will finally debut on April 14. [Housing Complex]
  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton tries to explain what went wrong in her parking fiasco caught on camera. [FOX5]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Weed Seeds

Buy D.C.: Crystal City

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area, curated by Kaarin Vembar, owner of personal shopping and wardrobe editing service Closet Caucus.


Chatter: Go the Distance

cover-issue1842-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Eugene “Thunder” Hughes and his 14th Street NW youth boxing gym, which has weathered decades of change on the corridor, were at the center of last week’s cover by Chris Opfer. Arturo Sandoval commented, “This is a great article. I’ve long been curious about the yellow building on this block of 14th and the older man in the wheelchair I’ve seen outside the place. Kudos to Mr. Hughes for his decades of commitment to the city’s at-risk kids!” Brenda Jones wrote, “A very touching story of a man who has unlimited compassion for youth/people ‘in-need’ and has the courage to take a stand. I hope this new administration will offer resources and support to continue this needed facility for those ‘in-need’ of guidance and resources.” Commenter Big Daddy pointed out that, according to the Office of Tax and Revenue, Hughes owes more than $42,000 in property taxes: “Why not do like the Central Union Mission — take the money and be free to operate without the threat of tax sale.” While Hughes says his tax bill is related to the loss of the gym’s nonprofit status, an oversight he’s seeking to rectify, it’s true Central Union Mission left 14th Street NW in part to secure its financial future. After selling the building for $7 million in 2013, the shelter moved to the old Gales School near Union Station. Luxury condos and retailer Shinola will soon occupy the building.

Streetcar That’s Desired

In his Housing Complex column, Aaron Wiener made the case that while H Street NE may not need the troubled streetcar to succeed, Benning Road does. “Pretty spot on article,” commented Spirit Equality. “Benning definitely could use the development that has traditionally sprouted up along new streetcar lines. And [Washington Post columnist Clinton] Yates and other observers commenting on the streetcar have indeed only spoken on H Street, not Benning (a particularly shocking oversight for Yates, a D.C. native). I’m pulling for the streetcar down H and Benning to actually run and hopefully eventually to extend down to Minnesota Avenue metro station, which is also next door to the Department of Employment Services and new housing development at Benning and Minnesota. The X2 is always packed by the time it gets to H, thus it’s clear to me that another transportation option is needed to lessen some of the stress/usage of that line.” SWdc countered, “how about another X2. what about 2 more X2s. understand how mush less expensive that would be. true it’s crowded, but another X2 would serve the same purpose (if not better) – but I like the streetcar…” loki5586 disagreed with the column’s premise: “Eye roll… Can we stop with this childish fallacy as ‘streetcars as development device’? I mean, for gods sake, can streetcar fans be any less transparent. You want to encourage development there? Great, give a 5 year commercial property and sales tax moratorium along that corridor. Based on current city reciepts, it would cost the District about 20-25 million over the 5 year period, and development would flourish like wildfire... But no...we had to spend 200 million dollars on a poor transit system that sometimes moonlights as a weak ‘kinda sorta’ economic engine. Use the economic development tools that we know work, that have been used time and again and are always successful, rather than building some shiny thrice priced machine for the blinkered urbanist crowd.” Check out Wiener’s column to read the other 45—and counting—comments.

District Line Daily: Return to Splendor

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

This week's cover story: At 81, Sam Gilliam is having a moment, as the the art world rediscovers him once again.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Former D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy's disappearance has confounded his supporters. [Loose Lips]
  • D.C. could exhaust its 202 area code by the end of the decade. [Post]
  • Metro says overcrowding on the X2 bus has been "virtually eliminated," but riders beg to differ. [Housing Complex]
  • Metro station managers and bus drivers describe the frequent threats and abuse they get from customers. [WAMU]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Return to Splendor

Gear Prudence: When Is a Bike Considered Abandoned?

GP

Gear Prudence: I’ve recently noticed at the bike racks in my office building a few bikes that don’t look like they’ve moved at all for a few weeks. There’s enough rack space for bike commuters, but it still seems wrong that people have just left their bikes at the office. How long should I wait before asking the building to remove them? —Slight Transgressions On Racks At Garage Everyday

Dear STORAGE: Out of sight, out of mind. It’s easy to imagine a scenario where someone suffered a mechanical malady, left a bike locked up in the work garage with the intention of addressing it, and then promptly forgot about it. Or maybe a coworker is using the work garage to hide a bicycle  whose purchase wouldn’t be welcomed by a bike-fatigued spouse. “Another bike? Are you fucking kidding me?” is a conversation worth avoiding. However, a bike should not be left fallow and certainly not on a rack to which one has no specific individual claim.

I say one week. Any bike that definitely hasn’t been moved in seven days should be reported as abandoned and removed/exploded (or however your workplace handles such things). The building managers will likely leave a note prior to cutting the lock, so the owner will have a chance to intervene. And if he doesn’t, oh well. Use it or lose it. —GP

Gear Prudence: Biking is my main form of transportation. Sometimes I come dangerously close to being struck or knocked off my bike. This shakes me up, but it doesn’t stop me from riding. I know there’s not much to be done after the fact, but how do you mentally get back on the bike after something really bad almost happens? —Seeking Helpful Observations Or Knowledge

Dear SHOOK: Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact of bicycling life that there are scary close calls and even worse than that, actual collisions. It’s hard to know exactly the extent to which someone will be affected, so generalizable advice is elusive. We all rebound differently, and while resiliency is virtuous, I hesitate to suggest to anyone that they “get over it” in a manner or at a pace that doesn’t feel right. So, it’s complicated.

After a close call (which, thankfully, is exceedingly rare), I try to think about what happened without dwelling on it. Is there something I can do in the future to reduce the likelihood of it happening again? Try a different route? Use a hand signal? Take the lane? My only advice is to try to put the past in the past and, to quote a wise Mancunian philosopher-poet, “Don’t look back in anger.” —GP

Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at talesfromthesharrows.blogspot.com and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email gearprudence@washcp.com.

District Line Daily: Ambulance Glitch

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

In the wake of a fatal failure to dispatch the nearest ambulance to a child who was choking on a grape, D.C. officials admitted that the city's dispatch system was struggling with a computer problem.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • D.C.'s annual "Potholepalooza" launches today. [NBC4]
  • Local rapper Yung Gleesh was charged with sexual assault in Austin. [Arts Desk]
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser hinted at using eminent domain for the new soccer stadium. [Loose Lips]
  • José Andrés is already planning to open a second location for his new fast-casual restaurant. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Ambulance Glitch

District Line Daily: Former Feds Run the City

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Tired of gridlock and shutdowns, or drawn to serve the city they've come to call home, a sizable group of federal bureaucrats has turned to municipal government with jobs in the Bowser administration.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • D.C.'s health insurance marketplace had relatively small price increases this year. [WBJ]
  • What one couple learned visiting 18 D.C. schools in 90 days. [Medium]
  • Chunks of concrete fell from an overpass onto Rock Creek Parkway overnight. [NBC4]
  • Nats Park adds metal detectors ahead of the 2015 baseball season. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Former Feds Run the City

District Line Daily: Life Support for the Streetcar

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

A review of the D.C. streetcar by the American Public Transit Association found a number of problems for the city to address, but no "fatal" flaws, at least.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Speaking of the streetcar: Our new recurring feature Streetcar Death Watch will track its possible demise. [Loose Lips]
  • 16th Street NW is getting another bus lane study. [WAMU]
  • Bowser to push middle-class initiatives this week. [Post]
  • A policy of routing Metro-related emergency calls to a supervisor at the D.C. 911 call center led to delays during the deadly smoke incident near L'Enfant Plaza station. [AP]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Life Support for the Streetcar

This Week’s Page Three Photo

page three

200 Block of Allison Street NW, March 16

Past page three photos are in this gallery.

I Can’t Stop Thinking About This Big Bag of Money

shutterstock_215231215

Artist's recreation

Last week's federal court docket in the District contained a noir-y conundrum  worthy of Elmore Leonard. Readers, how do you get out of it alive?

In the awkwardly named United States of America vs. Seventeen Thousand Nine Hundred Dollars ($17,900) in United States Currency, prosecutors try to claim nearly twenty grand in cash. The cash's purported owners claim that the stack comes from fur coat sales in North Carolina; drug residue allegedly found in a backpack with the cash and narcotics convictions on the would-be owners' rap sheets suggest otherwise.

What's interesting is how police got their hands on the money in the first place. When a New York City-bound Amtrak train pulled into Union Station, a passenger referred to as "M.M.A." in court papers filed last week grabbed at what he thought was his own backpack. Instead, he found $17,900 wrapped inside a shopping bag and turned it into the cops.

I think this is a dopey move. But what to do instead? There are two choices here, neither of which are particularly appetizing. Let's assume that the U.S. Attorney's Office is right and this actually is drug money, because someone losing their fur coat money is just too sad to consider.

Read more I Can’t Stop Thinking About This Big Bag of Money

Chatter: Schooled

cover-issue1841-lgWhat you said about what we said last week

Our cover story on African-American homeschooled children by Jonetta Rose Barras elicited a thoughtful response from Linda Moore, founder and former Executive Director of the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School. “At Stokes School, we applaud parents who are sufficiently engaged with their children’s education to successfully shepherd them through home-schooling.” However, she writes, “I hope that no one automatically makes the assumption that one child’s unsuccessful experience at [Stokes] means that the school is insensitive to African-American students.” Her letter is worth reading in its entirely and can be found at the bottom of this post. The article also touched a nerve with some readers. Specifically, as JM wrote on our site, race doesn’t seem like a legitimate reason to pull one’s kid from public school. “Isn’t DCPS already ~90% staffed by African-Americans? Ironic that these parents are pleading racial insensitivity as grounds for withdrawing their kids.” Not quite, JM. The position taken here is that structural and institutional racism are working against minority parents and kids, and, as the parents discussed with Barras, extends to the curriculum itself. But what about the kids? Are children always better off when schooled by parents? Commenter Adams Morgan questioned the basic tenets of homeschooling: “what worries me are the social aspects. I know home school collaboratives work hard to provide the social aspects missed by not being in a traditional setting, but it doesn’t matter how many after school programs/extracurriculars your student is in, they are still missing out on learning how to deal with (for better or worse) other people on a daily basis, many of who look nothing like them.”

Leave Behind

Other readers questioned the utility of low-income housing, the issue raised in Aaron Wiener’s column “Use It or Lose It” on the District Opportunity to Purchase Act. chris8lee took to the comments section to gripe, “for once and for all, it’s not the DC gov’ts business or interest to maintain a large low income demographic. there is not that much need for CVS workers and Walmart clerks.” But chris8lee, you keep using that word “low income.” I do not think it means what you think it means. As NonStopSki pointed out: “In DC, low income housing... are offered to folks making 40-55k a year, depending on how many dependents/residents they have. Those folks aren’t CVS workers and Walmart clerks. They’re people with degrees, high skill jobs, usually college educated. They’re white, black, brown, hispanic, etc, and they’re young, old, middle aged, single, married, with kids, without kids.... it makes plenty of sense for a city to have a stock of affordable housing that allows people to move up financially as they get more experience in the workforce (and therefore, make more money). Just today WCP had a link to a study showing DC rent prices are rising much faster than incomes are in the district. That’s not a sustainable path for a city to continue to prosper and grow.”

Department of Corrections

John Anderson’s feature on the National Gallery’s Piero di Cosimo exhibition contained two reporting errors: Samuel H. Kress purchased three Piero paintings at a 1938 gallery show in New York, not four; and there are 20 Piero works in North America, not 19.

Buy D.C.: The Vintage District

Each week, Buy D.C. will highlight shops and items you can only find in the D.C. area, curated by Kaarin Vembar, owner of personal shopping and wardrobe editing service Closet Caucus.


District Line Daily: Bowser Defends Metro Appointee

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Mayor Muriel Bowser is defending her appointment of Corbett Price to Metro's board of directors as she faces criticism from labor for the pick.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • A choking toddler died as D.C. Fire & EMS apparently failed to dispatch a nearby fire engine. [ABC7]
  • A D.C. official faces a $105,000 judgment in a harassment case. [Loose Lips]
  • The Watergate Hotel prepares to reopen and play up its "scandalous past." [Housing Complex]
  • Here's what you can see at D.C.'s newest museum, opening this weekend. [Arts Desk]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Bowser Defends Metro Appointee

District Line Daily: Title Bout

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

This week's cover story: How Eugene "Thunder" Hughes and his boxing gym have outlasted decades of change on 14th Street NW.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Ron Machen's legacy "may be that he treated the people he caught better than the people he never charged." [Loose Lips]
  • H Street NE may not need the streetcar, but Benning Road does. [Housing Complex]
  • David Catania has a new job. It's his old job. [Loose Lips]
  • Nintendo gives a shout-out to a mayor named Bowser. [Post]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY: Read more District Line Daily: Title Bout

Gear Prudence: I’m Worried About Potholes. What Can I Do?

gearprudence

Gear Prudence: It’s finally spring, so I’m back on my bike after a long winter. It’s great, and I’m happy to be riding on the open road again. Except for one small—or massive, as the case may be—problem: potholes! They’re everywhere, and I’m worried that I’m going to ride into one and break my bike—or myself! Do you have any advice?—Do I Veer Or Tumble?

Dear DIVOT: Potholes are one of nature’s greatest mysteries. No one knows for sure where they come from. Some leading scientists believe they’re the result of spring meteor showers, while others ascribe their presence to the impending mole-people invasion. 

The more conspiratorial believe that many potholes are part of a marketing stunt by either local auto-body shops to drum up business or by the filmmakers behind the oft-delayed Shawshank Redemption II, in which Andy must chisel into an underground prison to rescue Red from the unknown kidnappers who thwarted their Mexican abscondence.

Or maybe potholes are just the result of precipitation, freezing, thawing, and traffic. 

Potholes have the capacity to cause significant harm to bicyclists. As with most unpleasant things, the best strategy is avoidance. You could try to “bunny hop” over them, but like participating in the retrograde line dance of the same name, it’s unlikely this is the most reasonable option. Instead, scan the road ahead, looking at the pavement slightly beyond the distance where you would normally look. Avoid riding too close to any cars or bikes that would hinder your view or shorten the time you’d have to react and maneuver. At the sign of a pothole, look over your shoulder to ensure that you won’t have any problems moving over, flick out a hand to indicate you’re moving, and proceed as normal. Resist swerving at the last second. Remain vigilant, and you shouldn’t have too many problems.  

If you do find yourself riding into a pothole, stay loose, much as you should whenever you are riding over difficult terrain. Ease off on the grips and lift yourself off the seat to handle the dip and bump with greater ease. It is indeed possible that a pothole will not ruin your bike or cause you to fall. Remain calm. But don’t make riding into potholes a habit, either. 

Most importantly, report potholes to 311! D.C. is pretty good about filling them quickly, but they can only fill what they know about. Bicyclists tend to be very well acquainted with road surfaces, so please use your knowledge for the community’s benefit, which also conveniently coincides with your self-interest. —GP

Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who blogs at talesfromthesharrows.blogspot.com and tweets at @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email gearprudence@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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