City Desk

Neighborhood Watch: Dog Lovers v. Gardeners at Newark St. Park

The Issue: A decade after residents of the McLean Gardens residential community started lobbying for a dog park on Newark Street, construction has finally begun. But can the new dog park and the established, strictly pet-free community garden co-exist in the same place?

The gardeners have had a history of problems with some dog owners who, according to Newark Street Community Garden Association President Linda Blount Berry, have allowed their pooches to poop on the garden's land and have ripped out the signs barring canines from the area. To Berry, the dog park represents "rewarding bad behavior."

After 10 years of fighting Berry for their park, though, the dog park's proponents say she's being a sore loser—and hijaking the Community Garden Association.
Under Construction: Berry says the contractors and their crews have done a good job on the construction, but the nascent dog park is already having an impact on the community garden. The garden plots closest to the dog park are "devastated," Berry says, and when the contractors discovered that they had miscalculated the water supply, they were forced to dig trench through the community garden.

"If they had chosen an appropriate site in the beginning, they wouldn't be going through all these unexpected [problems]," Berry says.

The construction of the dog park has brought a number of other changes to the Newark Street Park, including new fences and a service road—additions that Berry, a landscape designer by trade, feels undermine the open space ethos of the park.

But Kathy Silva, a long time advocate of the dog park, says the fences and service roads are necessary improvements. Silva says the new road will make the park accessible to the disabled, bringing the park into accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (now 20 years old). Furthermore, one of the main areas that will be fenced in thanks to the dog park is the tot lot located at the northwestern corner of the park, which Silva says should have been fenced in long ago.

"I have been horrified at the number of times the little children have been running toward the street," Silva says. "I'm glad there's going to be a fence around the playground, it was an accident waiting to happen."

Sticker Shock: The project's big price tag—about $400,00 under current estimates—has also attracted criticism, with some wondering on local listservs why so much money is being devoted to dog parks in a year when the Council struggled to balance the budget. In addition to the construction costs, the dog park will require daily trash pickup.

Silva says the dog park proponents have paid their fair share through taxes and fundraising. The Newark Street Park K-9 Friends have raised $25,000 for amenities such as benches and a shade cover and have received grants from the local ANC, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh's constituent fund and nearby animal hospitals.

"We are not taking money out of the mouths of anybody," Silva says. "We have a memorandum of agreement with the city, we've raised money, we're not freeloading."

And while the construction costs may sound inordinately high, Silva is quick to point out that much of the money is going to improvements to other areas of the park, such as those fences and that ADA ramp.  "I'm looking forward to the final figures and the breaking down of what cost what. The dog park is substantially less than the total figure," she says.

Discord in Community Garden: While Berry has insisted that there was an "unbelievable" amount of opposition to the dog park among the community gardeners, not everyone agrees with her assessment of public sentiment. ANC Commissioner Trudy Reeves, whose Single Member District includes the Newark Street Park, says that Berry and her husband, Lew Berry, the current president of the Community Garden Association, have stifled pro-dog park voices within the community garden.

"Many people at the garden are in favor [of the the dog park], they just didn't show up because they were afraid of retaliation," Reeves says.  Reeves herself was a member of the Community Garden Association's board of directors until she was "kicked off" in 2003.

"it's more of a dictatorship," Reeves says. "They feel they own the park, but the park is public property."

A Political Park: For all the neighborhood quarrels it has caused, the dog park has been connected to a fair number of city politics headlines, too. The dog park was one of the dozen projects sketchily assigned to Banneker Ventures through the D.C. Housing Authority. After those contracts were put on hold by the Council, the dog park's construction was taken up by Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization.

The dog park also played a key role in securing D.C. Council At-Large candidate Clark Ray one of his most high-profile endorsements. As director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, it was Ray who loosened the regulations for dog parks in 2007, largely at the urging of Newark Street Dog Park proponents like Silva. A few years later, Ray received an enthusiastic endorsement from Madeline Albright, Silva's sister.

Most recently, the dog park has drawn the Council's attention due to the asphalt road built to service the dog park. At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson and Ward 3's Cheh co-sponsered legislation to remove the recently constructed roadway and disallow the future construction of paved roads or pathways in the park. At a July 13th vote, the bill was passed unanimously.

Reeves says the councilmembers' main objections to the service road were aesthetic. "Mendelson and Cheh's only stated reason for wanting the road taken out is that they think it is 'ugly. ... In addition to providing ADA access, the road provides access for the trash trucks to pick up the trash cans," Reeves wrote in an email. "I don't think any of us want overflowing poop cans around the dog park."

Next Step: If construction continues on schedule, the dog park is set to open in August—with or with out the service ramp, though, remains to be seen. At their Monday night meeting, the ANC passed a motion to petition the D.C. Council to allow the service road to remain at the park and not to delay further dog park construction.

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  • Skipper

    Pretty neat how Cheh and Mendelson pushed through "emergency" legislation without letting the community know about it ahead of time or seeking their input.

    That's fantastic, transparent open government.

  • blue penn

    Ridiculous. A service road?

    Dog owners can be so obnoxious (tearing out signs and disrespecting public property). They are among the least civically engaged people I know.

  • Rick Mangus

    You all know that I am the greatest lover of dogs but some of their owners are real assholes! The dogs can't read but their stupid arrogant owners can!

  • blue penn

    Clark Ray came in and did a whole lot of damage to our public spaces. People will not forget so easily. He made a big mistake in judgment.

  • Sally

    How does the community gardens work? I mean, they don't even have a waiting list anymore since it was so long. How come some people get to use public lands for their own benefit for, basically, as long as they're alive? Isn't that a violation of DC's public space laws?

    I find it highly amusing that the community gardens people who held Mendelson's balls while they wrote the initial emergency bill for him are the same ones who have no problem with their perpetual stake on public lands.

  • Ward3

    @sally you are all wrong. it was the dog park proponents and the ANC Reeves also pro dog park who held "balls" as you so indelicately put it, to work on the emergency legislation.

    and you are equally dim on how and what community gardens are all about.
    try to comprehend what you are reading before commenting.

  • noodlez

    "We are not taking money out of the mouths of anybody," Silva says. "We have a memorandum of agreement with the city, we've raised money, we're not freeloading."

    THIS IS PURE BULL SHIT MS. SILVA! YOU MAY NOT BE FREELOADING BUT BRINGING (2) 22 OUNCES FOR $3 TO THE PARTY AINT EXACTLY PITCHING IN.

    JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE CITY DOESNT MAKE IT RIGHT! SEE BANNEKER VENTURES.

    MY MATH IS KIND OF RUSTY AND CORRECT ME IF IM WRONG BUT $25K REPRESENTS JUST A LIL OVER 6% OF $400K. SO IF I WANT TO BUILD A SITTING AREA FOR ALL THE YOUNG BLACK MEN TO CONGREGATE INSTEAD OF SITTING ON THE CORNER. ALL I HAVE TO DO IS FIND SOME PUBLIC SPACE, GET A MEMO FROM DC AND GET UP WHAT AMOUNTS TO A DROP IN THE BUCKET TO SHOW MONEY WAS RAISED SO WE CAN HAVE A FENCED IN AREA TO PLAY DOMINOS, HORSESHOES AND CONVASATE A BIT THEN WHERE DO I START?

    ALL THOSE FOLKS UP THERE NEED TO GET OFF THEIR FLAT ASSES, PUT A LEASH AND MUZZLE ON THE DOGS AND WALK THEM THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD SO THEY CAN MARK THE TREES AND HYDRANTS LIKE DOGS ARE SUPPOSED TO. A FUCKING DOG PARK FOR $400K IN THIS ECONOMY ARE YOU KIDDING ME. WHY SHOULD THE CITY HAVE TO PAY TO BUILD A DESIGNATED AREA FOR THEIR DOGS TO SHIT?

    WITH FOOD PRICES AND HUNGER THESE DAYS THEY SHOULD BE EXPANDING THE COMMUNITY GARDEN. THIS IS THE TYPE OF SHIT THE CITY SHOULD BE DONATING MONEY AND RESOURCES TO INSTEAD OF CREATING A CESSPOOL OF ANIMAL WASTE RUNOFF.

    FENTY GOTS TA GO!

  • Sally

    @Ward 3 - Since I assume you're one of the community garderners with a lifetime plot of public land, enlighten me please!

    Mendo's bill originally said the asphalt path had to be removed immediately. Period. Nothing about a permeable surface. Nothing about ADA compliance. Remove path immediately. Period.

    It was only when Reeves and Silva got wind about the "emergency", that they sought answers and marched down to the Wilson Building. Mendo and Cheh then quickly re-worked their bill a few times, and only then did they add in a mention about a permeable surface.

    And at no time did the local residents have any sort of notice whatsoever about this bill being introduced. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

    Except, of course, the community gardens folks who held Mendo by the ballsac as they dictated the bill to him.

    Overall, a very shameful display by both Mendo and Cheh.

    Mendo's performance I can understand since he's a hack and he's getting back at Kathy Silva for her strong support of his opponent Clark Ray.

    Cheh's performance I can't explain, other than her being bamboozled by Mendo without knowing all the details.

    Either way, for these two supposed strong supporters of government transparency, it was a lovely display of hypocrisy.

    So, by all means, explain to us how the community gardens works - Doesn't a gardener have a plot of land to use for as long as they're alive? Isn't use of the plots tightly controlled by a husband and wife team? How often do new people get to use plots of land? And did the gardeners group know about Mendo's emergency bill before he introduced it?

  • Charlie

    Do dog owners pay license fees in an amount that will cover all these expenses? I am not a dog owner so I don't know.

  • Rick Mangus

    'Charlie', yes to your question!

  • blue penn

    In time, citizens of these neighborhoods will come to regret not getting more up to speed about what is going on in their area (indifference). These dog parts are a blight.

    Many if not most community gardens have a waiting list and a defined time period you could garden there. If not, and if you'd like to get in to garden or if you simply think it is unfair, write whoever chairs that committee on the council.

  • Neighbor-gardener

    The elephant in the room here, and having witnessed it first hand too many times now, is how certain individuals of the Newark Street Community Garden have aggressively, verbally harassed members of the local dog-walking community here for the past 2 years for doing nothing more than walking across public park space nearby and adjacent to the garden plots. It was such a Garden verbal assault that resulted in some unfortunate retaliative measures by highly aggrieved individuals. Other folks who have been aggressively hollered at by Garden leaders are now afraid to walk down the sidewalk past the Garden.

    The bad behavior suggests the Community Garden would rather fight than implement a simple solution: play nice and move the few gardeners who do not want to be adjacent to the dog park to plots on the other side of the garden area.

    The Newark Street Community Garden is not living in peaceful co-existence here. If they are unable to do that, then it is time for them to go. The city is growing, our demographics are changing, and this is a very pet friendly community (Vaughn Place now allows multiple dogs).

  • NWresident

    no it's not the elephant in the room that is the problem. it's the dog crap and piss in people's gardens. Disgusting.

    Dog owners who insist on allowing their dogs to crap all over the park are not good neighbors. it's so bad that during the snow storm the snow blowers shot dog poop all over the place. all over the condo common areas.

    Gardeners are dog owners too and we do not like irresponsible dog owners. I am tired of going out of my condo and stepping in dog crap.

    it is so bad that Silva has twice posted on the listserv seeing dog poop in the park/the gardens/the playground area and asking dog owners to pick the crap up. Then there are those who not only break the scoop your poop law and do not pick up the dog shit there are those who let the dogs off-leash - again breaking the law.

    You are an idiot to even suggest that instead of dog owners obey the law that people should move their gardens - you do not understand the sweat, love and hard work people put into their gardens but instead of dog owners obeying the law people you think people should just move out of the way. What a selfish thing to suggest.

    BTW it was a dump until the neighborhood organized and cleaned the land up and petitioned the city to use the land for a community garden. I have lived in this community for 65 yrs and the garden has existed peacefully for 35 years along with dog owners, parents and the rest of the community until Silva with her entitlement issues decided she wanted a dog park and used her sister's name and political clout to ruin what was a very friendly park for the community.

    the garden members sponsor educational programs for the children in the neighborhood and donate surplus veggies to homeless shelters, give school tours to students along with many other outreach programs they sponsor. the gardeners are neighbors and residents of this community.

    the garden and park common areas are maintained with membership dues and they maintain the common areas of the park. the city did not build and did not spend $4000,000 on the community garden. the city cuts the grass in the park and pick up the trash.

    shame on people who have the money to build their own dog park using city funds, damn near a half a million dollars, to build a park for the dogs. $400,000. for a dog park.

    @neighbor/gardener - unfortunate retaliative measures? - so is that what has led to the destruction of property at the garden, stealing of produce and other property belonging to neighbors - who are gardeners? is that what you think is correct behavior? Shame on you.

  • Bill

    To NWResident who said: "shame on people who have the money to build their own dog park using city funds, damn near a half a million dollars, to build a park for the dogs. $400,000. for a dog park."

    Have you been down Klingle Road lately? It's dog shit heaven *and* CM Cheh and CM Mendelson support spending $7 MILLION DOLLARS for a 3-block dog park there.

    $7 MILLION DOLLARS.

  • Concerned Gardeners

    For those of you want the real poop here it is from a group of gardeners who want to live in peace not vitriol:

    The Newark St. "Community" Garden is and has been run by a couple of dictators for years.
    Gardeners who disagree with these people are kicked off the board, committees or are kicked out of the garden.
    People get kicked out of their plots if the plots don't hold up to the dictatorial standards.
    Several gardeners either live in stand-alone homes and/or hoe multiple plots while there is a waiting list of 80 apartment-bound people who would like an opportunity to garden.
    The apparent Department of Parks and Recreation signs they've installed are non-official fakes and made using a pilfered DC government logo.
    The ugliness coming from our community garden towards the local neighborhood (which, in fact, was there before the garden) is being perpetuated by a handful of loud mouths.

    We implore our fellow gardeners who are tired of all this nastiness to please let's elect new garden leadership this fall.

    VOTE FOR CHANGE OF GARDEN LEADERSHIP!

  • noodlez

    Rick Mangus WHERE IS YOUR FACTUAL EVIDENCE TO CHARLIE'S QUESTION IN COMMENT #9?

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NWresident GREAT POST! MS SILVA TOLD ON HERSELF WHEN SHE MENTIONED THAT SHE WASNT FREELOADING. IF THEY RAISED $25K THEN THEY CAN RAISE THE OTHER $375K BY SELLING SOME PUPPIES, BUYING DOG TAGS THAT ALLOW USAGE OF SAID SPACE AND HOLDING A FEW YARD AND BAKE SALES.

    I DONT UNDERSTAND HOW THE GARDEN AND THE DOG SHIT PARK WILL COEXIST UNLESS THE GARDEN IS UPHILL FROM THE DOG SHIT PARK??

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    SINCE WHEN DO ELECTED LEADERS GET ELECTED TO DO THINGS TO STAY ELECTED?

  • blue penn

    If the garden is administered by DPR, you need to write Jesus Aguirre, or Jim Graham.

    That is my advice to others who are outraged at the number of poop parks proliferating in the city.

    Again, dog owners are among the least civic-minded people there are in DC.

  • Newark Street Neighbor

    Some of the postings regarding the Newark Street Community Garden are truly absurd...totally off base, untrue, and coming from misinformed kvetches.

    Members of the garden harrassing local dog walkers? What a laugh. Why do so many dog owners insist on walking their dogs (or letting them run off leash) thru the garden? It is against the law. DPR rules clearly state that dogs are not allowed on or near playgrounds, athletic fields, picnic areas or community gardens - with or without leash.

    Of course there is also a law about picking up the poop. Aha...but so many dog owners feel they are above the law, as we all know. Gardeners harrass dog walkers? Maybe they are just tired of finding dog poop all over the garden area, in their plots, and even in the compost pile. It is disgusting.

    There are no dictators running the garden. There is a group of concerned neighbors who care about the garden and have worked, some for more than 30 years, to beautify the area. There is an elected board that overseas the garden to ensure it is run effectively and in a democratic fashion. There is plenty of room for agreement -- and disagreement -- and no one is "kicked off" the board, for either. If garden members don't like the board members they elected, they can vote to replace them, as board terms are limited...so what's the reason for the absurdities, and totally false comments stated by "concerned gardeners" and a few others?

    It is possible that some apartment dwellers are on the waiting list for plots in the Newark Street Garden. Plots become available when people give them up...or, if plots are not maintained and become a garden of weeds instead of vegetables and/or flowers, they can be reassigned. This is an important garden rule, which was strengthened in recent years because of complaints by some McLean Gardens residents. But it is also a rule in effect in many, if not all community gardens...if you have a plot, you must tend to it; in the Newark Street Garden, gardeners are given considerable leeway and help is available to those who may need it.

    Many of us are concerned about the apartment-bound people in the area, many of whom enjoyed using the lovely open green space in the Newark Street Park for recreation or relaxation. Unfortunately,these thousands of neighborhood residents -- most of whom are not dog owners -- were ignored by the DC government who gave into the loud shrill voices of some McLean Gardens dog owners who refused to consider any site for a dog park except the Newark Street Park. That open space has been taken away from the public and given to the dogs, at great cost to all taxpayers, and the apartment dwellers now have no place to go. Too bad the DC Government isn't spending more than a half-million dollars to see that they have an exercise area! But dog owners view this as an entitlement!

    The Community Garden does offer some respite to area residents. What does the dog park offer to the neighborhood? The dog park construction will likely kill many of the old trees that shade the children's playground. The stench from the dog pee will probably be unbearable, and of course, there is the poop that the dog owners refuse to pick up, which is often found throughout the neighborhood and especially in the Newark Street Park --not only in the garden area, but also in the tennis courts and the children's playground.

    It is about time that gardeners and other neighborhood residents fight back against inconsiderate dog owners, who feel they have the right to run or walk their dogs any place they choose, often leaving the poop behind.
    All too often, when we neighborhood residents ask offending dog owners to obey the law, we're the ones who have been verbally (and sometimes physically) abused. Many of us are tired of the crap -- and we don't want to take it anymore!

  • NWresident2

    One can only laugh at Kathy Silva's concern about children who use the Newark Street Park playground running into the street, as she applauds fencing the kids in like animals. Ms. Silva is not a parent of a young child, and doesn't use the playground. If she did, she might find that most, if not all, of the parents totally disagree with the fence, which somehow came about as a result of the adjacent dog park. In fact, most parents oppposed having a dog park so close to the playground. I'm sure Ms. Silva is aware of that opposition.

    Regarding the false and rather stupid allegation by "concerned gardeners," about garden signs...be assured that the DPR signs in the garden are quite official and were placed with the knowledge and blessings of DC Government officials. The idea that the signs have "pilfered Government logos" is ludicrous.

    Dogs are not permitted anywhere in the garden area (or, as noted in another comment, in the tennis courts or in the children's playground). Those aren't the Garden's rules...its the law!

    Civic minded, responsible dog owners clean up after their pets and obey other rules that exist. Why is that so difficult to understand and implement?

  • CivilizedNWer

    OK Folks, your back and forth banter is hilarious! Get with the program. You uncivil behaviour is childish!

    Blue Penn = Gardener who hates dogs! Why bother reading it as it comes from a BERRY bad uncivil dictator!

    Newark Street Neighbor = perhaps another Berry Gardener whose life totally revolves around little world of Gardening and NPR - close-mind/eyes to the bigger world around who has many cats and maybe her own property that she should be gardening in because she has no life and interaction with the rest of the world.

    NW Resident = one of the BERRY's who is getting off on this silly diatribe about Dog owner's and their Garden they like to squat in.

    Remember folks if you own land in DC that you can garden on, then your NOT allowed to have community garden plots.

    I am a gardener (The Temple Garden - 15th/S Sts) and a dog owner (lover of the 17th/S St Dogpark) who was pushed out of our neighborhood dog greenspace next to our community garden about 10 years ago by The Temple Garden Nazi Queen whose husband was allergic and scared of dogs. So I know this story all too well...as long as DC is dog-friendly, and gardening space is allocated to gardeners, we will build more dog parks end of story!

    NOTE: Newark Garden has encroached public space as the years have passed without City Authority by posting those illegal bogus signs. This is a tactic shared by gardens committees all over the city, it's legal annexation as long as nobody contests it and after so many years it sticks. Just ask our Native American Friends who used to live right where your kvetching about!

    So take your zuccini's and put them where you could use them most!!

    VOTE FENTY! VOTE RAY! VOTE for NEW LEADERSHIP of NEWARK GARDEN!!

    -The Civilized!

  • Rob & Sabby

    Now here are the facts:
    1) Kathy Silva wanted a dog exercise area for her dog, because she was not willing to enlist a dog walker. She could have chosen the unused park at 40th and Upton (which she could have got to from the back end of her synagogue), but she wanted one closer to her home (damn the tots who used the green area next to the tennis courts for frisbee, tot football, tot baseball, and other tot activities that the adjacent playground does not provide). And in order to get this area designated a dog exercise area she resorted to the following over the years: 1) she threatened succesive interim DPR directors (including the present one) that she and her cohorts would fight their confirmation - and she attended successive Council confirmation hearings to intimidate them, 2)she and her cohorts voted in a friend, Trudy Reeves, to the local ANC so that Reeves could endorse the dog 'park' from that end, 3) she joined the McLean Gardens committee in order to influence the Board to support the dog 'park', dog days and dog swims (against most residents' wishes), 4) she used her sister, Madeline Albright, to influence the MG Board, DPR directors, Kathy Patterson, Mary Cheh and the City Council, 5) in her battle with the gardeners (most of who do not want the dog 'park') she got the District 2 commander to ticket gardeners who did not have Zone 3 stickers on their cars, 6) she got the head of DPR Planning division to reduce the area requirements for a dog exercise area, 7) she got a friend to provide a favorable enviromental impact study for the dog 'park' and influenced DOH to accept it, 8) she got the District 2 commander (at the time) to underplay the noise impact study, 9) she influenced the firing of the wife of the couple living adjacent to the 'park'(who circulated a residents petition against the dog 'park)' from her yoga teaching job down the street, 10)she started a listserve of people in other wards not living in the area to push her cause, 11) she used her contact(just deceased) at the Northwest Current to write favorable articles about the dog 'park', 12)she is currently influencing the work being undertaken by the contractor, which includes the unauthorized roadway, and when the 'park' is completed she is devising ways of maintaining total control of which dogs will be allowed into the area, 13) despite their limited resources, two district agency directors (DPR and DPW) are being badgered by her to maintain the dog park (which other dog parks do themselves), 14) because DPR director Clark Ray capitulated in order to get confirmed, she is now pushing his at-large candidacy against Phil Mendelson (who most residents in ward 3 favor).
    There is more, but I'll stop here. Her machinizations are never ending.
    Kathy Silva has singlehandedly divided this once tranquil community - pushing her selfish interest. The tennis players, gardeners, parents who use the playground (and once used the green space), the residents adjacent to the dog 'park', and most residents in the area detest her. Dog owners and those who do not own dogs never had any conflict in the past. We learnt to live with and around each others' interests. Kathy Silva has ruined that atmosphere of amity. $600,000 was passed for the construction of several dog 'parks'. Kathy Silva has exhausted it all with just her one.
    Green space was created for humans, not dogs. The fact that I am a taxpayer does not mean that other taxpayers have to provide amenities for my horse ! (I have one, but I keep it in the suburbs at my daughter's ranch home - where it, and all dogs, belong). Dog lovers do not lock up their dogs in apartments. Those who do try to provide them the necessary exercise without infringing on others' rights. I do not like flies sitting on dog feces and then on my baby's mouth. Try picking up a dog's loose motion !

  • blue penn

    Obviously that person is not civilized, knowledgeable, courteous, civic-minded - not the one who calls himself CivilizedNWer.

  • Peter Walker

    You almost got it all Rob and Sabby. Well done. But here are a few you missed:
    - the tennis players have no place to relax anymore, as they await their turn on the courts. They are pissed.
    - the dog walkers who charge exhorbitant fees can now sit on their ass and let the mutts screw each other as they talk on their cell phones. They, and realtors like Barbara B, who falsely claim to their buyers that McGardens is dog-friendly have been behind Kathy S.
    - that is a TOT-LOT. And tots in the lot MUST, by law, be supervised at all times. No need for a fence!
    - most of the other dog exercise areas (and this does not meet the area standards) do not have wheelchair ramps. Ramps on those that do are not 20 ft wide ! This is clearly done by Silva to get DPW to pick up her poo, rather than she and her friends bring it down to the curb, as they need to.
    - Silva did not tell you that she is asking the City to keep the dog park lights on until midnight, to appease those who use their mutts as an excuse to flirt after work.
    - Silva also did not tell you that they have run out of money and are NOT putting down astro turf but gravel. Once the poo get in between that gravel, it will start to stink out the neighborhood. (no problem for her, she lives two blocks away).
    - is it true that the McGardens Chair is in Intl. development work and rolls over for Silva in orfer to get contracts through her sister Madeline?
    - Clark did not capitulate. He played politics with the dog park and it came back to bite him. That's all he was good at - politiking (although it is not going to help him defeat Phil - despite Silva's dog people).
    - $600 for a dog exercise area. Let's see, that would be at least a dozen needed govt. workers who were recently retrenched because of budget cuts (and I am not taling teachers). Do you think Silva cares? Not with her nestegg.
    Now you know how the Palestinians' lost their land !

  • blue penn

    I hope CityPaper can do some more digging next time they do a story about dogs and dog parks, and not just press the send button on unsubstantiated rumors and accusations about dog poisonings and extremely favorable coverage of dog parks, when it seems that the majority of people surrounding such parks are not in favor of them.

  • Aaron and Laura

    Aguirre and Graham, like Clark and Cheh are all politicians and will stick their fingers in the air to find out which way popular sentiment sways. It is a shame we are not organized around a single cause as Kathy and the commercial walkers and realtors are. We did not have to go down to the Council hearings, as Silva and her dog people did (we have more important things to do with our time), but we should have at least innundated the mayor's office, the council members, the McG Board, and ANC with e-mails on what was going on behind the scenes. Now the whole aesthetic quality of that area will be changed forever - for the selfish interests of a few (who could have gone down to Upton and 40th - a mere 500 yds away).
    As for investigative reporting, forget it. It is not happening at the local, state or national level anymore. We need a local Wikileak! At one time Columnist Jonetta Rose Barras attempted to cover all sides of this story, but we are told that she too was pushed out of WAMU by Kathy and her friends (who wrote nasty letters to the station threatening to pull their pledges). All WAMU has now are Larry King types in the form of Kojo Nnamdi and Diane Rehm. But this is digressing. Or is it? - (showing to what lengths this selfish woman would go to to get her dog park). The 6 yr-olds, including mine (too big for that tot-lot) used to play football at that green space. I hope Silvas dog gets humped by a pit bull in that enclosure!

  • Anti-dog park dog lover

    The Madeleine Albright Memorial Dog Park was accomplished over the overwhelming opposition of gardeners, tennis players, children's playground users, neighbors, and health/environmental officials.

    Secret meetings, backdoor deals, political connections, election payoffs, media manipulation, and outright coercion were used to subvert the legal, administrative, and environmental process and thwart the will of the vast majority of the affected public. (E.g., the Garden Association vote was 47-5 against the dog park.)

    Allegations of "dictatorial" governance of the garden are absurd as anyone knows who has attended the hours-long meetings at which every viewpoint is given a fair hearing and majority sentiment on issues often changes in response to reasoned argument. The association--and the community--have been blessed with decades of selfless service by these dedicated individuals.

    We have three lovable dogs in our family but would never dream of using this dog area that has so desecrated a once peaceful and friendly community recreational area.

    I have personally witnessed an older gardener physically accosted and threatened by an aggressive owner who insisted on letting his boxer dog run leash-free through the garden. That attitude typifies the tactics used throughout the process by the dog park proponents who have selfishly diverted scarce public funds from a host of worthy projects in other D.C. communities to serve their own affluent convenience.

  • Trudy Reeves

    90% of the above is garbage. And for the record I did not even know Silva when I first ran for the ANC. If any of you were decent honest human beings you would use your real names. It's easy to write BS if no one knows who you are. I am a gardener and a non-dog-owner but I believe in supporting what is best for my community. My record is open. I have no ambitions for a higher office. I just want to use my retirement time in bettering the community. The hostile environment in the garden has been fostered by a few gardners, not the least of whom is the "older gardener physically accosted . . ." The reaction of the man with the boxer was entirely inappropriate. But quite honestly several people have been verbally accosted by this "older gardener" simply because they walked their dogs on-leash in the open grassy area next to the tennis courts that of course will remain for tennis players to stretch out on while watching or waiting for a court. Identify yourselves you cowards.

  • Ann Wilder

    No thank you Ms Reeves. I was waiting for a court and went to sit down in the grass at the edge of the garden, thought I would smell some roses while waiting, and sat in a pile of dog poop. Thanks for the invite but I think I will pass.

  • blue penn

    For those wondering what to do "next time:" at a MINIMUM, write the appropriate people on the DPR council committee. I think that's Graham. Write your council member and the at large members, and write the head (whoever it may be that day) of DPR. Clark Ray made a huge mistake succumbing to the dog owner lobby. There is nothing wrong by the way with this Kathy's dog. She seems to be the offender, but her dog is basically innocent.

    Then at the next level, start a petition and circulate it physically and work to get coverage for your POV in the weekly local papers.

    The story of this dog park is awful.

  • Concerned Resident

    blue penn
    residents, the gardeners and many others from other wards did write letters to all city officials chair persons, the Mayor and the media. people testified before the city administrators, petitioned and the nay outweighed the yays, the fix was in and this dog park was happening no matter what others said or did. the nw current had the late husband of one of the dog park people as editor so no fair play there either. clark ray had the final last word as director of parks. and it was his word that made it happen.

    it is not the actual dog park that is so offensive so much as it is the cost $600,000 or 400,000 depends on who you talk to.

  • Noel Coward

    Dear Aaron and Laura,
    Don't you know that no pitt can mess with Silva's? She made sure of it by including a special area for dogs the size of her's.
    And incidentally, before one tries to "better" one's community one should first find out what the overwhelming silent majority (who are busy with their jobs and kids) think before you take away their green spaces and agree to monstrous malls that will change the entire character of this peaceful community (i.e.the Giant project). Sorry, let me rephrase that: "this ONCE-PEACEFUL community" (destroyed by a few nasties).

  • blue penn

    Thank you Concerned.

    On another point, it's too bad that one councilman who shall remain nameless came out and told the cops not to ticket the off leash dogs. This just bolsters the sense of entitlement and encourages more lawlessness against dog owners. And it also pushes the incivility issue which in turn makes it seem like dog parks are the only solution. Such a damn shame.

    I know I've nearly contributed one third of the comments on this entry, but again, I can only say that there are a lot of comments and CP reporters need to seriously dig beneath the surface on these serious quality of life issues which have ramifications in terms of competency and corruption.

  • blue penn

    "among" dog owners!

  • Ron Vanrooyen

    Notice how Ms. Reeves talks for her friend, Silva - (who pulls her string). And how the hell does Ms. Reeves know what is "best for the community". She just wants to hob-nob at the 'bark ball'with Silva (where phony politicians pretend to be dog lovers in order to garner the votes of the rich and idiotic).
    As for the ANC: One can just vote oneself into it. And except for the politicians, no one gives the old bags the time of day.

  • NWresident2

    As an ANC Commissioner, Ms. Reeves should show a bit more tact and restraint. Name calling doesn't work and is inexcusable for a city official. There are no "dictators" in the Newark Street Garden, any more than there are "cowards" who have posted messages regarding this story without listing their names. Shame on you, Ms. ANC Commissioner! McLean Gardens deserves better...someone who represents and cares about the interests of everyone, not only the dog owners.

  • Red

    I'm a resident and dog owner who resides in Mclean Gardens and I find the comments around this story appauling. I wanted a garden plot, but there are no spots available nor even a waiting list.

    Dog owners who don't pick up after their pets are plain idiots, but clearly a very small percentage of the dog-owning community in the area.

    While I can't justify the tax expense for the dog park, I'm certainly glad that I will have a place nearby where my dog can get good exercise off leash, especially considering I get absolutely no benefit from the garden which is essentially a closed community to those who are grandfathered plots or somehow find another way to be able to use it.

    Gardeners should not have to put up with dogs running off leash in the garden or anywhere else. Tennis players will not have to worry about sitting in crap because there will now be a dedicated area for the dogs. Everyone should be accountable for their actions, but the fact remains that this dog park will benefit the large contingent of dog owners in the neighborhood as a place that will provide both a service (dogs running off leash in a protected area), and a place to converse with neighbors at the same time. There is absolutely no reason why the dog park and garden cannot coexist. I welcome the park, and I support the idea of a community garden. All the other stuff is bs.

  • blue penn

    community gardens should have rotating slots of x number of years. It STILL takes a long time, but if you hang in there, you will get in (with rotating, time limited slots). Do something about that. The solution is not a dog park.

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