City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: The Village Speaks! Edition

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

Neighborhood News Roundup The Village Speaketh: It’s spring break for public school kids in D.C., and according to one concerned resident that means a rise in the number of ruffians roaming the streets. In the MPD4 email list a resident writes,“I just heard that dc public school students will be on spring break next week, which means lots of kids roaming the streets of dc, possibly breaking into cars. What can we do to help police, with lessons learned from the Sanford, FL case?” A resident responded with a suggestion to exploit the children for free labor saying “If you know students in your neighborhood, why not give them a job such as raking leaves or washing your car or bike. If you happen to have the leeway where you work and you feel comfortable with the student and know him or her pretty well, what about taking that student to your workplace and assigning him/her one of those jobs that you've been wanting to get done, but just haven't been able to set aside the time — such as organizing a section of your files or filing papers, or ask his/her opinion about some aspect of your work that could benefit from a different approach because the way it's being done now isn't working as well as it could and should.” Another takes the opportunity to go on a rant about parenting, or the lack there of, “Yes, when youth are out and unsupervised they not only can get into trouble but hurt- by the drug dealers lurking around them, by older kids who would like nothing better than to "initiate" them into a gang. I could go on ad nauseam. Question is "Where are the parents?" They are their children's first and most influential role model. And don't tell me parents are working two jobs and don't have time to supervise them. I was a "latch key" kid by age 11 myself because my dad worked two jobs to support us and my mother was taking care of three perpetually ill grandparents. And I grew up in a very " transitional" neighborhood in New York City. Difference was I had been given responsibility at a young age and didn't have "idle hands" for the devil to play with. There was a reading list to be completed( and if your kid's school doesn't have one-CREATE ONE OR DEMAND ONE!!)), projects to be worked on at the library, a dog to groom and feed, and jobs just like you described Faith that could be completed by children at an early age, such as helping elderly neighbors dispose of their newspapers, sweep their steps and assist them with laundry. Even If I did it for only a "thank you" ( and the occasional milk and cookie snac), I was expected to complete it. And if any of those neighbors saw me doing anything I should not have been doing ,they reported it to my parents. It takes a village to raise our kids!!”

Party Poopers: Members of the Shepard Park email list were upset by Mayor Gray’s proposal to allow restaurants to sell alcohol until 3 a.m. on weeknights and 4a.m. on weekends. One member writes, “I am steadfastly against the adoption of the new hours. I have zero confidence that the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) will be able to identify, investigate and enforce abuse of the extended hours. The agency cannot adequately investigate the many infractions committed by alcohol serving establishments at the present time. At best, they are understaffed and overworked. I also have no confidence in the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Boards ability to adjudicate any disputes between said establishments and the communities fairly. From researching past decisions and my own painful personal experience with Protest Hearings, I am convinced the ABC Board priorities align parallel with the agendas of the nightclub owners, and the alcoholic beverage lobby. (I feel there is no governmental agency addressing this issue that seriously advocates on behalf of the rights of the residents.) The quality of life and peace and tranquility issues the new hours would inflict upon adjacent neighborhoods would also be detrimental to the affected communities property values. The way I read the proposed budget, tax revenue for the District trumps citizen comfort, safety and well-being. Anyway, that is my admittedly rather bitter assessment of the situation. Some of you reading this may not have a problem with the change of hours. In fact you can argue there are some areas in the city where the change won't affect the surrounding neighborhood adversely. My neighborhood is not so blessed. We are dealing with a repeat unapologetic violator of the present maximum hours that ABRA through the ABC Board recently granted the establishment. I shudder to think of the mayhem that will be unleashed with the hour extension on serving alcoholic beverages. For the sake of full disclosure, I should point out that this post was necessitated by the rowdiness of two groups of revelers leaving the problem establishment at 3:30am and 4:50am last night (early Saturday morning), and yes, the police were called.” Another agrees saying “I still love to party and to drink at restaurants/ clubs (esp. jazz clubs). But 4 am in the morning (and 3 on weeknights?) is ridiculous, certainly in a residential neighborhood (or places adjacent to residential neighborhoods – some, like ones on upper Georgia Ave. or 4th St. in Takoma are commercially zoned but next to single family homes and apartments. Downtown, perhaps. Even then, the thought of people driving intoxicated in the early morning hours gives me pause. Metro doesn't run them, so public transit isn't an option. Cabs are hard to get then too.” One resident makes a rather bleak suggestion, “It might be helpful if there were statistics indicating whether the extended hours will increase the number of injuries or deaths due to this unnecessary extension.” Who spit in your bean curd, Shepard Park?

A Call Received is a Call Deserved: A member of the Adams Morgan email list was complaining about receiving “candidate robocalls” saying “I just did a search in the archives and I was complaining about this same topic in 2010.Anyone else averaging six to eight of these calls per day lately? If any candidates are reading this, congratulations, you have convinced me NOT TO VOTE IN THE PRIMARY. Because for each call I received, I thought, OK, not gonna vote for that guy. Nor him. OK, he's out too. So, basically, nobody left to vote for. Yeah, I hate robocalls that much.” Another responded with “This type of whining is a part of the reason why Ward 1 is so politically backwards and houses such an unethical pay-to-play machine with citizens copping out of the process like this. We like to point at the DC Government and Council, but we are basically getting what we deserve.” Damn son, you gonna let him talk about you like that?

A Real Wild Turkey: Members of the Chevy Chase email list prove that internet search engines are obsolete when you have friends you can email with questions us regular folk would just Google. One member of the list writes (and posts a photo) “This bird was in our back yard Thursday around noon, and when I tried to photograph it from closer up, it walked quickly (but didn't fly) across several neighbors' yards and disappeared. I think it's a turkey or a ruff grouse, but would appreciate identification by a more seasoned birder!” A member responds “It sure looks like a wild turkey. My daughter and I looked it up in our Field Guide to North American Birds (Audubon Society.) This is the right habitat and region for it, too. Nice picture! (The Ruffed Grouse looked very different.)” Another spoke to a “real birder” and confirms the suspicion “That it is indeed a wild turkey. The birder friend said, "they live in the woods. We may have them in Rock Creek Park, but I did not know it. Usually there are several in a group."

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