City Desk

Shh! Kingman Park Civic Association Demands Silence From Members

The first rule of the Kingman Park Civic Association? Don't talk about the Kingman Civic Association.

Members of the long-running civic association, back in the news this week after delaying the streetcar line by attempting to get historic status for the site of a future car barn, probably have a lot to say about their group. But don't ask them to talk, because according to their by-laws, they can't (emphasis added):

No member or non-member will be permitted to obtain membership, or retain membership in the association, if he or she disparages, defames, libels, or discusses other members of the association in and through print media, electronic mail [e-mail], telephone or any other mode of communication that is not authorized or permitted by association, its executive board and officers.

That secrecy rule should itself be a secret, because the by-laws can't be shared, either. The rules, obtained by City Desk in defiance of the omertà and included at the bottom of this post, explain that "they are not to be distributed, disseminated, published electronically or in any other way for non-members."

A look through the by-laws of several other D.C. civic associations reveals no similar pacts of silence. Kingman Park requires the extra secrecy because its activism has made it so many enemies who would see it destroyed, presumably using its by-laws, according to association president Frazer Walton, Jr.

"Can you name one civic association in this town that has been more active than Kingman Park?" Walton asks. Among those alleged enemies: drunks disrupting meetings, politicians angry that they didn't get an endorsement from the group, and potentially, after the streetcar fracas, Mayor Vince Gray. So far, Walton says, no members have been booted for speaking about the group without permission.

When asked why the by-laws don't just have a "no noisy drunks and mayors" rule, though, Walton vaguely explained that the by-laws are a warning. "That's putting people on notice," he says.

Silence photo by Shutterstock

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Pingback: » Kingman Park Civic Association has some bizzarre rules (h/t @WillSommer) Titan Of Trinidad

  • Pingback: Some overdue oversight

  • http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com Richard Layman

    Well, DC laws on nonprofits lay out certain requirements, and clauses in bylaws counter to public policy probably aren't legal. This clause would be counter to public policy in all likelihood.

  • Interesting

    It's interesting that the only committee whose responsibilities are defined is the History Committee. I'm just guessing that the KPCA added that right about the time they submitted the landmark application for Spingarn, considering that it is a requirement that organizations applying for landmark designation must have historic preservation addressed in their by-laws or charter. It's a little suspicious to note how the addition of the definition of the history committee messed up the formatting of the document, suggesting it was a later addition and not part of the 2010 amended by-laws as suggested by the header. Just an observation.

  • Joe

    For the record, the KPCA is not the accredited civic association of Kingman Park, it ceased to be a year or two ago. Kingman Park is officially represented by the Friends of Kingman Park. These bylaws are an example of why KP residents were so fed up with KPCA and abandoned them. There are only a few members of KPCA now, and they're just obnoxious troublemakers who are disliked by the rest of the community.

  • Becky

    Just FYI: The KPCA won't even give the bylaws to it's members! I used to be a dues-paying member and I asked for a copy of the bylaws twice, once in person and once in email. Both times I was told they only give copies of the bylaws out once a year (at the September meeting, if I remember correctly). And I was told there was no electronic copy of the bylaws. The whole thing is rubbish.

    It's a shame. If you search through OLD Washington Post archives you can read how the KPCA really accomplished things in it's heyday. Now... Well, Joe sums it up correctly when he writes, "...they're just obnoxious troublemakers who are disliked by the rest of the community."

...