||Mount Pleasant DC Forum
Discussion about the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood
|Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:50 am Post subject: May meeting minutes (official)
|The following are the official minutes of a public meeting of the Mount Pleasant Advisory Neighborhood Commission held on May 5, 2003. The commissioners voted to approve these minutes at their public meeting on June 2, 2003.
MINUTES OF THE MAY ANC MEETING
The Mount Pleasant Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC- 1D) held its monthly public meeting on May 5, 2003. Chairman Sale called the meeting to order at 7:37 p.m. There was a quorum. Commissioners Babcock, Grant, McKay, Muller and Sale were present. Commissioner Bitondo was unable to attend.
1. APRIL MINUTES
The commissioners reviewed the minutes from the April ANC meeting. Commissioner Grant moved that they approve the minutes. Commissioner McKay seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
2. TREASURER’S REPORT
Treasurer-Commissioner Muller passed out copies of the latest quarterly report to the commissioners. He reminded the gathering that the ANC was required by the city to file quarterly reports documenting the reception and disbursements of funds. He said the last time the ANC dealt with quarterly reports was in March when they dealt with a bunch of old ones -- reports that hadn’t been filed or reports that they had corrected. He said those reports were still in the auditor’s office. Treasurer-Commissioner Muller said he had traded messages with the auditor on Monday and learned that they had not yet taken a look at the reports but told him they would soon.
Treasurer-Commissioner Muller said in the meantime, the quarterly report was now due for the second quarter of fiscal year 2003. He said the report was much simpler than the ones filed in March. Basically, he said, the ANC spent about $2,000. However, he said the ANC had received an allocation from the city in February, which was puzzling because the commission was not supposed to receive allocations until they submitted quarterly reports, which they did not submit until March. He said why the ANC received an allocation in February was unclear to him and he hoped it would be cleared up by the auditor. Nevertheless, Treasurer-Commissioner Muller said the ANC received that money and spent about $2,000, so the commission had an ending balance of $31,556.48. He took questions.
Chair Sale pointed out that the report said ANC -1E. Treasurer- Commissioner Muller said he would correct it, explaining that it was an old form. Chairman Sale reminded the gathering that the ANC had lots of cash and wanted to give out some grants.
Commissioner McKay wondered since the ANC had gotten money did that mean that the clock had started on their requirement to submit a budget. Treasurer-Commissioner Muller said that was a question that he had for the auditor. He said when he actually spoke with the auditor he would ask him that.
Treasurer-Commissioner Muller moved that the ANC approve the quarterly report. Commissioner Grant seconded the resolution. It passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION (PASSED): Resolved that Advisory Neighborhood Commission 1D approves the Quarterly Report for the 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2003.
Chairman Sale invited any newcomers to the ANC meeting to introduce themselves. Several did so. Chairman Sale then moved to the committee reports since it was not yet time for the guest presentations scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
3. COMMITTEE REPORTS
BUSINESS DISTRICT COMMITTEE
Business District Committee Chairman Sale asked Elinor Hart to discuss anything related to the Business District Committee that was on her mind, since he had been out of the loop for a few weeks while on vacation. Elinor Hart announced that they had just found out that Mount Pleasant was going to be selected to be a DC Main Streets neighborhood. Chair Sale said he was thrilled. He also said that the ANC had strongly supported the application and that he thought that community support really made the difference. Hart agreed.
Hart also reminded the commissioners that the ANC appoints three community people to the board of Mount Pleasant Main Street and that it was time to do so. She asked the commissioners to be thinking of people who would be good. Commissioner Babcock asked if an ANC commissioner sat on the board. Hart said in the past an ANC commissioner had served in ex-officio capacity, but in addition, three community members served on the board. Chair Sale said anyone interested should contact the ANC.
PERMITS AND ZONING COMMITTEE
Permits and Zoning Committee Chairman Muller said the ANC just been notified of a couple of zoning or permit requests for residential properties in the neighborhood and would take a look at them.
He also said he planned to call the ABRA to make sure that they were being properly notified.
Dave Bosserman complained about the new, industrial color pedestrian walk signs popping up all over the city. Robert Frazier suggested that he write a note to District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Dan Tangherlini.
Commissioner McKay said there were a couple of liquor license renewals and asked if they came under the jurisdiction of the permits and zoning committee. Commissioner Muller said they did. Commissioner McKay asked if there were any questions about those two renewals. Commissioner Muller said he did not have any questions. Commissioner Grant asked if Lee-Irving Liquors owned the building, which he said had pigeons flying out of it. He was informed that the liquor store was a tenant. Hart said she would be happy to talk to him about the building. Commissioner Grant explained that he had been hoping that they could bring some pressure to bear through the liquor license process.
Grants Committee Chair Babcock said the committee met on April 23. She said she was not able to stir up great community interest, that only her hapless housemate came. But she said they brainstormed a bunch of funding priorities and drew up a mission statement that the commissioners could talk about. Commissioner Babcock said they thought that at this point a broad-based approach would be best since the ANC had quite a bit of money. She said they might want to consider narrowing the approach later on next year, but at this point they had money to give.
The grants committee chair laid out the funding priorities that the committee had identified in addition to Latino Affairs, which the ANC voted to make a priority at the last meeting. Commissioner Babcock said they started by thinking that it would be best to align their priorities with the committee structure -- business affairs, crime prevention, city services and traffic issues. She said they then came up with a bunch of other funding priorities that might be helpful: community health, youth well-being, environmental beautification and preservation, social services and the arts in Mount Pleasant.
Commissioner Babcock said they had also updated the application and the guidelines. She said the application now asked for a brief work plan that would allow the commission to have a specific idea of how the money would be used and a point of comparison for the grant reports they get. As for the guidelines, Commissioner Babcock said they removed any mention of the two-times per year funding cycle and laid out some more specific ideas about how people should go about applying for grants and how to send the applications electronically.
Dave Bosserman asked if the applications were available online. Commissioner Babcock said she could e-mail one to him. She said had not yet posted them to the Web but would as soon as she was sure the commissioners were okay with them.
Grants Committee Chair Babcock said as soon as the ANC approved the documents, she wanted to send out a memo to as many people and organizations as possible to ask people to apply for funding. She noted that Commissioner Bitondo had done a good job of getting people to apply, saying so far they had had two grant applications and one was funded at the last meeting.
On that note, Commissioner Babcock talked about the first grant the ANC had funded, to the Council of Latino Agencies (CLA). She said the ANC gave CLA $1,250 last month to help fund a dialogue between the Latino community and the Metropolitan Police Department. Commissioner Babcock said four of the commissioners attended the two- hour event, which took place last Saturday. She said she thought it was really positive. Commissioner Babcock said the ANC would get a report within a month and a half from CLA. She went on to describe the event.
Commissioner Babcock wrapped up saying the next step for the grants committee would be to send out the memo. She said there was some unfinished business from the last ANC, that she still did not have a final report from the organization Our Turn. She said she had had trouble contacting them and if anyone knew how she might do that their help would be appreciated. Commissioner Babcock said she was going to make an effort to every month visit one or two neighborhood association meetings try to say a few words about the fact that the ANC had money to give away. She said if anyone would like her to come to their meeting to talk about the grants process she would be happy to do so.
Greg Nicklas offered that the Mount Pleasant Business Association was meeting on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Commissioner Babcock said that the meeting time was hard for her because she worked in Baltimore but that Chairman Sale might attend. Nicklas said they could get it on the agenda to have them speak about grants. Chairman Sale said he could speak.
Iris Rothman asked if individuals could apply for grants. Commissioner Babcock said the bylaws and statutes said organizations or groups that served the residents or other people who had an interest in the community, but did not specify that the groups had to have a 501(c)(3) designation so there was some flexibility.
Mary Hathaway asked if the ANC gotten reports on grants that had previously been made and if the information was put out on their Website. Commissioner Babcock said that statute required grantees to provide the ANC with a statement after 60 days of the grant award. In addition, the ANC required a report after six months and a report after a full year. She said she had hardcopies of grant reports from the previous ANC. She said she wanted to create a database of all the organizations that apply to the ANC. She said they would make a point of posting it on the Web. Chair Sale added that once the ANC’s belated Website was up and running they would definitely post everything they could get their hands on. Commissioner Babcock asked if they could put it on Yahoo groups at this point. Commissioner Grant said yes.
Chair Sale asked if there was a reason that the ANC needed a $500 cap for grants and if there was any reason they could not remove that from their bylaws.
Commissioner Babcock said there was no reason. She said it was the last ANC’s decision. She said she thought that there was some logic to having a cap on grant making that was not directed toward one of their funding priorities. But she said it was certainly open to discussion and that they could change their bylaws. She noted that they did so last month and it wasn’t so cumbersome.
Chair Sale said he would support raising the cap in general or removing it and leaving it up to the discretion of the ANC to select how much money to give grantees. Commissioner Babcock said setting some funding priorities provided some structure and if they did adopt the proposed funding priorities they were extremely broad to begin with. She said when you were working with small amounts of funding it d made sense to keep some form of structure.
Commissioner McKay said under the existing system a simple majority of a quorum, which might be as few as three votes, could award a $500 grant. He continued that to issue grants larger than $500 required an affirmative vote by five commissioners. So, he finished, the ANC had a two-tier structure now that included a reasonable safeguard against abuse of the grant privileges. Commissioner Babcock asked Commissioner McKay if he would support removing the $500 limit also. Commissioner McKay replied that what he was saying was de facto there was no limit.
GUEST PRESENTATION: KATIE PALM, U.S. BOTANIC GARDENS
Katie Palm of the U.S. Botanic Gardens made a presentation about a pilot project by the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden to create a school garden at Bancroft School modeled after a school garden initiative in Chicago. She talked about how they had worked closely with Bancroft teachers design the garden and described what it would look like. Palm said they would be looking for people in the community interested in helping with the garden and encouraged people to become involved. She took questions.
Mary Hathaway asked about irrigation. Palm said they were going to bring a pipeline from the school to a garden utility storage shed.
Commissioner Babcock asked how the community would know how to get involved. Iris Rothman said that she would post notices in the Mount Pleasant forum saying what they needed done and asking for help. Rothman then introduced Toni Conklin, the teacher at Bancroft in charge of the project. Chairman Sale asked her to say a few words.
Conklin said they were really excited about the project. She said it would virtually change the land around the school. She said they really wanted community input. She encouraged people to come or call the school and ask what they could do. Conklin reminded the gathering of Bancroft’s multicultural fair on May 17. Commissioner Grant asked what time the fair started. Conklin said it would begin between 10 and 11 a.m. after the school marching band made its traditional march up to Mount Pleasant Street to ask people to come. The fair ends about 4 p.m. she said.
Chairman Sale said Mount Pleasant had a big problem with vandalism and graffiti and asked about the pilot gardens in Chicago and how they hoped to counter those problems. Palm said what they had found in other cities where they had gardens in schools was that even if it was in the worst section of town where graffiti and trash were a huge problem, once the students had ownership of the garden, once they’d been out there planting and working in the classroom those problems dropped down. Iris Rothman added that based on past experience with gardening projects at Bancroft it hadn’t been a problem.
Commissioner McKay asked why they chose Bancroft School. Palm said it was the luck of the draw.
Chairman Sale asked about funding. Palm said that the funding was coming through a partnership between the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Chicago Botanic Garden and that a senator from Illinois had gotten money from Congress. Chairman Sale suggested that she leave a sign up sheet for volunteers.
Iris Rothman said the Bancroft PTA was planning to ask the ANC for a grant for the garden.
GUEST PRESENTATION: IRIS ROTHMAN, EXEC. DIRECTOR OF PLAYSTART
Iris Rothman made a presentation about PlayStart, a joint Bancroft School and community playground for preschool kids. Rothman said PlayStart had raised the money for the playground. She said they had gotten $25,000 from the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, raised about $7,000 from the community and the rest from private foundations for a total of about $60,000.
Rothman said the Parks department had just ordered the playground equipment and it was on its way. She showed pictures of what the play equipment would look like.
Patricia Bitondo said she had discovered from past experience that community playground requirements were not as rigid as school playground requirements. Rothman assured her that she had spent seven months making sure that they met every conceivable requirement possible. She said in fact they had had to persuade the manufacturer of the fire truck toy to produce a new model that would meet city standards.
Rothman said they had been approved but still needed to get a permit from the Department of Health watershed division storm water mitigation and had to go through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. She said they had spent $25,000 on equipment, $3,000 on the architect, $1,000 on a survey that had to be done and less than $600 on funding-raising, administration etc. She said once they got the next set of permits done they would actually start construction. She described their buy-a-brick fundraising drive to pay for the building of a low brick wall between the playground and the teachers’ parking lot to meet safety requirements. Rothman said one line costs $50, two lines cost $75 and they were having a special where two bricks with two lines of text each brick were $100.
Commissioner Grant asked how long they would be doing the brick fundraiser. Rothman said definitely for another month or two. She said the brick wall would be one of the last things that got built. She added that the mason, Jerome Findler, had said that he going to buy a brick too.
Rothman said that a third project for a rain garden had also been funded. She said they were going to get $30,000 from the storm water mitigation folks for the project.
Rothman said she had noticed in the April ANC meeting minutes that there had been a discussion about the need for more recreational space. She said Bancroft was very interested in working with the community in developing its playground into more of a place for community recreation. She said the principal would be very interested in taking down the basketball court. Rothman said the city had told them that it would tear up more asphalt for free so that they could put in a soccer field with a little track around it but that they would have to come up with the money to pay for artificial turf. Rothman said the principal would also be happy to have an ANC meeting at the school one night and there the commissioners could look at some of the things that were going on.
Mary Hathaway asked if it was a done deal about the soccer field and the basketball court. Rothman said no, nothing had been done at all. It was just an idea.
Commissioner McKay asked when they anticipated that the playground would be completed. Rothman said because the fire truck was being remodeled, the earliest that they could get it was October 1. She said they had pretty much set that as their planned date for putting the equipment together. Rothman said they would be doing a community build, where people install the equipment supervised by a representative from the playground equipment company. She said the other construction would be done this summer.
GUEST PRESENTATION: LEN SULLIVAN, NARPAC
Len Sullivan of the National Association to Restore Pride in America’s Capital (NARPAC) talked about his organization’s analytical work and its efforts to try and inform the debate about how to make the city a better place. The group runs an educational Web site, which is updated every month. Sullivan said NARPAC saw some very serious problems, which had to do with the fact that the city was a fixed size and had more than its share of the very poor, more than its share of the very rich and not much in between. For example, he said, D.C. had only 2.8 taxpayers per welfare recipient, whereas the suburbs had between 12 and 14 taxpayers per welfare recipient. He said the difference in what they could do with their revenues and in taking care of the poor is very large indeed.
Sullivan said NARPAC’s analysis of Columbia Heights or Cluster 2 found that it cost the city about $110 million more a year than it raised in revenues. He said NARPAC believed some $20 million more a year in revenues could be raised with the new development in Columbia Heights if everything went right but $7 million could be lost if things went all wrong. He directed people to the NARPAC web site for more information. But he said his group believed that they should be looking for more property to turn to business than to residences because businesses use so little revenues in the course of a year.
Sullivan also asked for comments on how neighborhood associations like the ANC could do more to address the enormous problem of breaking the cycle of poverty in their communities.
Chairman Sale said Commissioner McKay had pointed out NARPAC’s Web site to him and he thought it was very interesting and took a fresh perspective. He said it addressed issues that communities were afraid to address. He said he was glad Sullivan had raised certain things and that there were certain issues that they had to talk about like eliminating poverty and working more symbiotically with business, which he said he thought the ANC had tried to do. He said this was a preface as to why NARPAC had been invited to speak at the meeting. Chairman Sale invited comments from the other commissioners.
Commissioner Babcock asked Sullivan what he meant by welfare recipients. He replied anybody near the poverty line and therefore benefiting from public services. There was a discussion about social services.
Bancroft teacher Toni Conklin talked about the value of mentor relationships based on her experience at the school. She said there was always the possibility of people offering up their services as individuals and taking on a family and a child.
Sullivan wrapped up by wondering how many ANCs keep statistics on the status of their community and if it was something worth doing.
GUEST PRESENTATION: PATRICIA BITONDO, BABE RUTH BASEBALL
Patricia Bitondo, organizer of the citywide Babe Ruth baseball League, talked about the league and the need for funding for 17 kids from Mount Pleasant. She explained that Mount Pleasant has the Sacred Heart Angels and that the rest of the kids are put on other teams. Bitondo said they charge the kids $50 apiece but it costs about $97 per child with equipment. She said she was looking for a grant to pay their baseball fees, but the ANC had a $500 cap. Commissioner Babcock said not necessarily, that they might pass a resolution that would remove the cap. Bitondo said she would like $50 per child and the assistance of the ANC to have a specific Mount Pleasant team. She said if Bancroft put in a soccer field the Mount Pleasant t-ball team could play there. At the moment, she said they take the team to Harrison field to practice. So she suggested that when they fix of the playground, they put a little backstop there so they could play t-ball.
Bitondo said they had a need for coaches. She said she needed all the help she could get. She said if people wanted to help her coach she was the only Bitondo in the book. She took questions.
Robert Frazier asked about the age range. Bitondo said it was from six to 12, boys and girls. She said they had 700 kids in 34 teams. She said they liked to have 3 adults per team. She said they did not see too many parents so they needed a lot of volunteers. The games are on Friday evenings at 6 p.m. and practice on Sunday afternoons starting at 2 p.m.
Bitondo closed by saying that she hoped the ANC could help her. Commissioner Babcock said she thought that they had sent her a copy of the grant application. Bitondo said she didn’t know if she qualified for a grant but said she just would ask for help for the kids from the community and supply their names and addresses. She said she would fill out a form and send it tomorrow.
Anthony Chuukwu, executive director of the Citiwide Computer Training Center, introduced himself and briefly described his organization, which is a non-profit that provides technology training to District residents. He asked the ANC for assistance for their summer program for low-income kids. Chuukwu said they have a computer camp for about 40 students but due to high competition in the community D.C did not fund them this year. He said he was now scrambling to get funding and appealed to the ANC. Commissioner Babcock said he would need to go through the grant process and that she would e-mail the application to him tomorrow.
David Bosserman talked about the umbrella coalition to show the mayor and council members that there was support for enlarging local voting enfranchisement to non-citizens. He passed around a petition and gave the ANC a letter of support to consider.
Robert Frazier asked if the ANC would be willing to consider supporting non-action on the Rock Creek Park master plan proposal the city would consider later this month regarding the closure of Beach Drive during weekdays, in the non-rush hour time period between 9:30 and 3:30. He said personally he did not see a valid recreational use for closing it down at that time. He said it did not think it was going to help with traffic flow for residents of Mount Pleasant. Mary Hathaway agreed with a position of non-action.
Commissioner McKay said the portions of Beach Drive that would be closed were only those that were already being closed on weekends, the sections which are north of Mount Pleasant, not adjacent to Mount Pleasant. He said he thought Rock Creek Park and particularly that winding section of Beach Drive to the north really ought to be primarily for recreation. He said he didn’t think it would make much difference to the residents of Mount Pleasant unless you’re going north out to Maryland. You could just as well do that on 16th Street or Connecticut Avenue, which are much more amenable to handling traffic flows, the commissioner said.
Frazier said it was also a matter of access to the park that it would make it harder to get to certain places. Commissioner McKay returned only for sections north of us, not for Mount Pleasant. He said he thought the park should be a park.
Commissioner Babcock asked whose idea was it to close it off in the first place. Frazier said it was an anti-automobile coalition. He said if you wanted to have an impact you might want to think about closing Beach Drive for rush hour. The discussion continued. Frazier pointed out that the city council was meeting on the issue on May 22.
Chairman Sale said he agreed with the resolution and would vote to support it. Commissioner McKay said he did not think it was a city council issue at all, that it was a National Park Service issue. He said he thought it was strictly a matter of the Park Service deciding what to do and he did not know that the city council had anything to do with it or that the ANC had any weight.
Frazier said he thought that the city council was holding public hearings to give it some weight.
Commissioner McKay suggested that they take it under study and answer some of the questions before they undertook any resolution. Chairman Sale said he wanted to propose the resolution and see if they could get it through anyway. Commissioner Muller said he did not see any benefit to closing this road during the day but he said he thought that ANCs got into trouble when they passed resolutions without fully considering them. He said so far this year the ANC had tried to give ample opportunity to hear from people presenting both sides of an issue before they voted. He said he understood that there was a time pressure but was a little bit hesitant to move forward with the resolution. Commissioner Babcock said she agreed that it didn’t seem like a good idea to close down the road but she wanted more information.
Commissioner Muller said he would be willing to have a special meeting if they wanted so they could have a voice in this. Elinor Hart pointed out that the record probably stayed open after a public hearing so they could probably get a comment in before the record closed.
Chairman Sale said he would table the motion but that he wanted it on the record that he supported the resolution.
Commissioner Babcock asked what the next step should be. Commissioner McKay said he had the National Park Service material on the issue, which he would provide to the commissioners and they could take it up under Old Business at the next meeting.
Chairman Sale moved that if the ANC could not get in under the record that they would consider having a special meeting to vote on the resolution. Commissioner Babcock seconded the motion. It passed. Commissioners Babcock, Grant, Muller and Sale voted aye. Commissioner McKay abstained. Commissioner Babcock said she would check into the comment period.
2. COMMITTEE REPORTS, CON’T
CRIME AND CITY SERVICES COMMITTEE
Crime and City Services Committee Chairman Grant said they had a new PSA lieutenant who was also the lieutenant for PSA 412. Grant said the lieutenant was starting to get involved with their issues and they were trying to educate him as much as possible.
Commissioner Grant said Councilmember Graham had asked him to head up a taskforce on the police substation that opened at 750 Park Road. He said they had had one meeting two weeks ago and the next meeting was Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the substation and then after that there would be town hall meeting at Mount Zion AME Church in the 3500 block of 16th Street to discuss the new PSA plan.
He said the Mayor would be announcing the new plan for PSAs on May 10. Commissioner Grant said the possibilities for Mount Pleasant included being combined with other PSAs, because they were reducing the number of PSAs. He said there was every possibility that the PSAs currently served by the substation, which are 410-414, might be combined into one PSA or two different PSAs. He said there was also the possibility that they could be redistricted into the Third District because the rest of Ward One was in the Third District. Committee chair Grant said Councilmember Graham had been trying for years to have them put into the Third District. He said the concern there was that the CAC, the community organization that works with the police in the Third District, was pretty much dead. He said they were trying to shock it back into life now but it was not going very far. He said if they did end up getting rejoined in the Third District he saw the substation taskforce serving as a very good vehicle for letting the Third District know what their issues were and how they could serve us.
Commissioner Grant said they would take up a resolution under New Business about the PSA changes. He said he felt very strongly that the Mount Pleasant PSA should not be redrawn into the PSA’s on the other side of 16th Street because of the difference in the crime problems. He said they would discuss that when the resolution came up.
Commissioner Babcock pointed out that the meeting on May 10 was an open meeting and would be held at 810 O Street N.W.
Mary Hathaway asked if the ANC could take a position on the fact that they were reducing the number of PSAs. Commissioner Grant said it was pretty much a done deal. He said they had no say, the Mayor’s plan was going to reduce the number of PSAs. He said it was a matter of seeing what the fallout was on how this was going to be done. He said it was easier to say you fully staff your PSAs if you don’t have as many PSAs so that was how the city was going to work the numbers with that.
The committee chair reiterated that he did not want to see the Mount Pleasant PSA enlarged geographically because the crime problems that they were having were very different from what the surrounding communities were having.
Commissioner Muller asked if the Mayor’s new PSA plan was subject to approval. Commissioner Grant said he thought that there would be community input for a period of time. Hart said she thought that the judiciary committee would have something to say.
The commissioners discussed the PSA system.
Hart said they could really use a letter from the ANC to the Department of Parks and Recreation. She said in the neighborhood strategic action plan there was a new water fountain and new benches for the park. She said Rob Fleming had repaired the water fountain a number of times and it would be wonderful if the city could get them a new water fountain in time for the Mount Pleasant festival on June 1. Commissioner Grant asked what was happening with the water fountain. Hart said they did not put in a sturdy enough one. She said she would send him research Rob Fleming had done on the type of water fountain that would work.
TRAFFIC AND PARKING COMMITTEE
Traffic and Parking Committee Chair McKay said there was an evaluation of on street parking for the business district that has been done by DDOT. He said Harold Smith of DDOT would be presenting the results at the Mount Pleasant Business Association meeting this coming Wednesday. He said they were trying to find a compromise between the residents’ needs for parking and the very legitimate need of the businesses for customer parking.
Dave Bosserman gave the report since committee chair Bitondo was not able to attend the meeting. He said at the last committee meeting there were two Latino Liaison officers, which was fortunate because they had some good lessons on community outreach. He said the police suggested that they not call a big meeting right away but do what they did, meet people on the street, go to their homes, form nuclei, maybe hold little Single Member District meetings. He also said the committee would no longer be called Latino Affairs because Latinos were tired of having affairs. He said the police officers would guide the commissioners in doing grass roots outreach. Bosserman said it would be slower but they did not want to advertise a big Spanish language ANC meeting and then have only them and Jose Sueiro sitting there.
The commissioners decided to get a booth at the Mount Pleasant Festival. Elinor Hart suggested that they do voter registration at the table. Commissioner Babcock said she and Commissioner Bitondo had already discussed this and asked Hart for more information. This lead to a discussion of the BOEE Web site, which the commissioners agreed was the worst Web site in the city. Then Commissioner Grant introduced a resolution supporting the Mount Pleasant Festival.
RESOLUTION (PROPOSED): Because Mount Pleasant is a diverse and welcoming community; and
Because the Mount Pleasant Festival each June is a celebration of the best that Mount Pleasant has to offer;
The Mount Pleasant ANC resolves to give its wholehearted support to the Mount Pleasant festival and to have a presence at the festival.
There was a discussion. Commissioner Muller suggested that they write in the expenditure for the booth instead of passing a separate resolution. Commissioner Grant did so. Commissioner Babcock seconded the resolution. It passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION (PASSED): Because Mount Pleasant is a diverse and welcoming community; and
Because the Mount Pleasant Festival each June is a celebration of the best that Mount Pleasant has to offer;
The Mount Pleasant ANC resolves to give its wholehearted support to the Mount Pleasant festival and to have a presence at the festival.
The ANC further resolves to expend $60 for booth space at the festival.
3. NEW BUSINESS
Bill Panici made a presentation about the Adams Mill Road Elm Tree Project to treat the stand of elm trees along Adams Mill Road to prevent Dutch elm disease. He said he had submitted a grant request to Commissioner Babcock. Panici said he had raised over $2,000 thus far from residents, neighborhood groups, council members and others and the goal was $4,400.
Commissioner Babcock asked why the city was not paying for the preservation of the trees since they were all on public land. Panici said the city treated trees that were already affected with the disease.
Chair Sale asked Commissioner Babcock if the intention was to vote on the grant at the meeting. She answered in the affirmative. Commissioner Grant asked if the ANC had provided funding in the past. Panici said yes, two years ago. Commissioner Babcock said she did not have a report. Panici said he had submitted a six-month report to Kristen Barden and said he could e-mail it them.
Commissioner McKay said while he was all in favor of this, there were lots of other elms in Mount Pleasant and wondered if they were unfairly favoring one part of the neighborhood. How can we do this so that we are fairly treating everyone with elm trees in Mount Pleasant, he asked.
Panici said there were scattered elms around Mount Pleasant but there was no street where you had a continuous run of elms of this stature. He said the trees were probably planted in 1925 when the homes were built. He said the trees were a welcoming arbor to anyone coming into the neighborhood.
Commissioner McKay asked if that was saying that they were neglecting the other elms in Mount Pleasant. Panici said some were and some weren’t, it depended where they were. He said the city was quick to take down trees if they were diseased. But he said he thought that the Adams Mill Road project had generated interest and enthusiasm on other streets.
Commissioner McKay suggested that the next time they go around this that they do a neighborhood-wide study of where the trees in need of this kind of treatment were so that they were not favoring one specific area.
Chairman Sale wondered what sort of services the city was supposed to provide. He said he wanted to look into it a little more. But he said he would not prevent a motion from being put forward, he would just abstain from voting on it.
Commissioner McKay suggested that as a compromise they offer modest funding not as much as requested but enough to show that they supported the effort. He said they could investigate further and decide if they wanted to supplement that funding. Commissioner Babcock said that the request was for $500.
Panici noted that he worked with city arborist Bill Beck. Commissioner Babcock wondered if the city held back public resources because Panici was so efficient. He replied that the city had not been willing to do anything in the treatment of the trees.
The commissioners mulled what to do. Chairman Sale said he thought that it sounded like a noble cause but he wanted to make sure they were not violating any ANC regulations by duplicating city services. He said he would call the arborist before the next ANC meeting. But he said he had no problems with the other commissioners voting on it. The discussion continued.
Commissioner Babcock moved that they grant the funds. Commissioner McKay seconded the resolution. It passed. Commissioners Babcock, Grant, McKay and Muller voted aye. Chairman Sale abstained from voting.
RESOLUTION (PASSED): I move that ANC- 1D grant the Mount Pleasant Elm Fund $500.
Commissioner Grant introduced a resolution concerning PSAs.
RESOLUTION (TABLED): Because the Mayor will be presenting a new plan for Police Service Areas (PSAs) for the District of Columbia in the near future; and
Because all of Mount Pleasant is currently contained within one PSA (PSA 410); and
Because the crime problems of Mount Pleas ant’s PSA are of a different character than those of the other four PSAs which constitute the Ward One portion of the Fourth Police District; and
Because we feel that combining the current PSA 410 with any or all of PSAs 411-414 would be counterproductive to solving the crime problems in Mount Pleasant and would in fact result in a lowering of police presence in Mount Pleasant due to the competing and more immediately life-threatening concerns in our neighboring PSAs,
The Mount Pleasant Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) is resolved in opposition to the combination of the current PSA 410 with any other PSA under the Mayor’s new PSA plan. The ANC will express this opposition to the Mayor, Chief of Police, and other appropriate city officials should the Mayor’s plan propose to combine the Mount Pleasant PSA with any other PSA.
There was a discussion. Chairman Sale said he thought they ought to say something about how they enjoyed thePSA lining up with their ANC and that that helped promote cooperation between the ANC and the PSA. Commissioner Grant worked on language to that effect.
Commissioner Muller said he understood the concern that combining PSAs could result in the lowering of police in the neighborhood, but said he was not sure that it would necessarily. Commissioner Muller recommended that they change “would” to “could.” He also said he was not necessarily sure that he was comfortable saying he would be opposed to any combination of the PSA with other PSAs without knowing what the Mayor proposed because he thought that that was closing off a lot of options. Commissioner Muller suggested opposing any plan put forth by the Mayor that does not guarantee that they have least the amount of officers that they were supposed to have right now.
Commissioner Grant said really the only place that the police had to expand the PSA was in 411-414, which have very different crime problems. He said if you go to the other side of 16th Street the robbery rate shoots up, the burglary rate shoots up, and the drug problem shoots up. He said Mount Pleasant’s main problem was theft from auto and that was what set it apart from every other PSA in the Fourth District if not the city. Commissioner Grant said that was why he felt very strongly that the PSA should not be combined with the other ones. He said even if it meant they retained a smaller number of officers because of a smaller population, that would allow the officers that were here to better focus on the issues that Mount Pleasant has.
Commissioner Muller said shared the concerns and understood that the situation might be different from neighboring PSAs but he still felt that the language was so broad that essentially what they were saying was don’t mess with our PSA, keep it the way it is.
Chairman Sale said if it just said that he would support it. Leave our PSA the way it is, he said.
Commissioner Muller said he was not convinced that the PSA was working for them and that the resolution was in effect saying keep it the way it is. He was wondering if they might not want to see what the Mayor proposed before they commented on it. He asked about a comment period.
Commissioner Grant said certainly they could. He said there would be a public meeting on May 22. He said that they could table the resolution until the next meeting but he was not sure what effect that might or might not have in terms of the time.
The discussion continued. Commissioner McKay said they should focus on the issue of community policing and whether the PSA system was working adequately in view of communication between the police and the community.
In the end, Commissioner Grant withdrew the PSA resolution until the next meeting. He said he would work on it a little more and see what community input came from the meeting on the 22nd.
Commissioner Babcock read a resolution regarding funding priorities for grants.
RESOLUTION (PROPOSED): ANC-1D hereby resolves to adopt Business Affairs, Crime Prevention and City Services, Traffic, Community Health, Youth Well-Being, Environmental Preservation and Beautification, Arts, and Social Services as funding priorities for the purpose of grant making.
There was discussion. Commissioner Grant suggested scratching out “well-being” making it youth. Chairman Sale said he thought they had painted themselves into a corner with the $500 cap and wanted to the funding priorities be the priorities that the ANC had set out at the beginning and eliminate the others. Commissioner Babcock said she thought that a narrow approach was wiser.
Commissioner McKay pointed out that this was everything and that they just couldn’t do that. He said they were required by their bylaws to specify funding priorities at the start of the year, which they had not done. Nonetheless, he said he thought in the future on any grant application if they agreed that it was a priority issue they could go ahead and fund it to whatever extent they wished.
Commissioner Babcock asked if they could adopt new funding priorities as the need arose. Commissioner McKay said yes, all they had to do was declare that whatever the grant was an ANC priority.
The commissioners tinkered with the language of the resolution. Chair Sale suggested that they use the committee names. Commissioner McKay said they should take off traffic. Chair Sale disagreed saying they should line up their goals with their priorities.
Commissioner Babcock changed the wording to the committee names. Chair Sale brought up the Latino committee. Commissioner Grant reminded him that they had already adopted that as a priority at the last meeting. Commissioner Babcock proposed a revised resolution. It was seconded by Commissioner Grant and passed unanimously.
RESOLUTION (PASSED): ANC-1D hereby resolves to adopt the Business District, Crime and City Services and Traffic and Parking as funding priorities for the purpose of grant making.
Chairman Sale adjourned the meeting at 10:29 p.m.
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