City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: Not Sassafras Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News Roundup Anti-Market: A push to get Mayor Gray to put $150,000 from the 2013 budget toward a farmers market incentive program for SNAP, WIC, and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program shoppers in the Columbia Heights email list turned from a friendly debate to a working-class roast session—and back to a friendly debate. One resident responded to the original initiative for tax money to be used to provide fresh food to the poor through the farmers market by writing, “The Columbia Heights Food market, which is operated in public plaza between Kenyan Street and Park Road during the spring, summer and fall economically does not benefit local District of Columbia residents and should not receive any additional D.C. residents' taxpayer money to support its' high price food from vendors who are not D.C. residents or property owners and who live far away as Pennsylvania. The market is seeking a further public subsidy which it does not deserve.” Though the subsidy has its defenders, one member writes, “The $150,000 needs to be put into job training and education programs for people who are DC residents." Another fires back, “Of all the tens of millions of dollars spent on job training now, and the almost $1B on regular K-12 education, you're saying that there is nothing left for anything else. FWIW, there are plenty of problems with the job training programs in the city, and the real issue has to do with a severe mismatch between jobs available and skillset.That being said, I was just in Salt Lake City, and was incredibly struck by the difference in the quality of people in 'low skill' jobs such as stores compared to D.C. The D.C. people sure don't measure up–but I have been struck by this for decades, having experienced a People's Drug Store in NC in 1988, and was shocked that the store personnel didn't suck like they did in D.C. I then realized the issue wasn't People's Drug, but the workforce. And dealing with that is a whole other ballgame.” Another says, “You mean you want the clerks to stop talking on their cell phone or filing the nails and actually do their job? Outrageous! I would also say that the recent gay hate crime at the IHOP is related to the workforce in that restaurant. I have seen the wait staff encourage their 'friends' to hangout, get freebies and would not be surprised if the culprits in the shooting are known to the staff there. While I understand the owner's efforts to recruit first time employees, he needs to realize that this requires training and serious monitoring which I fail to see.” The original responder makes an attempt to get back to the point, but misses: “What does any of this have to do with using D.C. taxpayer money to support a market that violated the Constitution from the beginning when it excluded anyone who was a Columbia Heights resident from becoming a vendor? I guess we should subsidize your farmer's market because in your view the people working in IHOP are unskilled, untrained people who somehow reflect all minority unemployed people in D.C. That is some basis for seeking a D.C. government subsidy for Pennsylvania farmers. You don't like the workers in IHOP who are making minimum wage but you need a subsidy so you can lower the prices of the Pennsylvania farmers' food so low income people can afford to purchase from the market vendors which will in turn provide rural farmers with income. That makes sense.”

Did You Just Talk About My Mama? : On the Brookland email list this weekend, members attacked a resident for misidentifying “Optimism,” a local bar, as the location of a fatal stabbing and bashing the bar in the process. After mistaking Optimism for The Library, the actual location of the incident, the resident unknowingly opened a can of verbal whoop-ass by throwing dirt on Optimism’s reputation. “Living at the corner of 10th and Monroe Sts., I've noticed over the past few months that the crowds flocking to Optimism have become noisier and rowdier. My wife and I have been often awakened in the wee hours by Optimism patrons staggering back to their cars parked on 10th St. Unfortunately, they are more than loud. They discard their alcohol-filled cups they've taken off the premises in the street and in 10th St yards, and, even more disturbing, they use the Luke C. Moore campus and the 10th St. trees as toilets. Last night, I saw no fewer than three people relieving themselves at the school and in the treebox in front of my house. And I thought the CUA students were bad. Without some kind of swift action, this sociopathic and dangerous behavior will continue.” A resident replies “Not only was this information incorrect, but its disbursement was handled irresponsibly. I am an employee of OPTIMISM and we have never had any incidents of this nature. I would only hope that our patrons and neighbors know that. Our staff is responsible and I can assure you that no one is leaving with glasses and/or urinating in the parking lot of Luke C. Moore after being served at our establishment.” Another responds “There's a reason why journalism is left up to the professionals. Our community is too intimate not to have facts. Please double check information and avoid letting your personal agendas override the facts.” Another said the resident’s “misidentification of the stabbing venue is as obtuse as his misaimed slap at Commissioner Steptoe ... You would do well to address your ANC with a bit of common courtesy, especially if you expect some cooperation...perhaps your mother never taught you to be polite, perhaps your wife will have more luck. Optimism is a bar, people go there to drink and have a good time. This is city with a number of bars...did you fail to notice that when hunting for a bargain priced house in the NE? Surely, as bright your person you know how to file a complaint?"

Dirty Work: A member of the New Hill East email list is curious about dirt. “On the old freeway that is directly across from L Street, SE are some huge piles of soil. Dump trucks have been coming to deliver it all in a row. (1) Does anyone know where it's coming from? (2) Does anyone know how long it's going to be there? (Seems to me it should go to its final destination at once, which I hope this isn't.) (3) If no one knows, where would I inquire to find out??” Another member has an idea “As part of the 11th Street bridge project, the stub of the Barney Circle freeway that ends at Pennsylvania Avenue is supposed to be turned into some kind of avenue that is at surface level instead of being sunk relative to L Street. I looked a little for the plans that were out online a year or two ago, and I can't find them. But the pile of dirt may be permanent enough that they'll put a new road on top of it.”

Not Sassafras: A beagle mix dog was found in Takoma Park over the weekend. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the dog that has been missing for over a yea. A posting on the neighborhood email list reads, “Hi, we have a male beagle mix who was running around at 6:50 today hanging out with us on our porch. Please call if are missing your beagle mix. It's not Sassafras. “

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