Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie is hosting a meeting to address crime issues. Along with the usual summertime uptick in crimes like burglaries and car break-ins, there have been other high profile crimes lately, such as a teenager being stabbed at the Brookland Metro and robberies along the Met Branch Trail. For more information, see the flyer below.
Astrid and I have known Kenyan McDuffie since before he was the Ward 5 Councilmember and before gay marriage was legal in DC. We can attest that back then he was an ardent supporter of LGBT rights and continues to be an ally of the community. That’s why we are happy to post this flyer asking for volunteers to march in the 40th Annual Capital Pride Parade this Saturday with the McDuffie team. We have marched in the parade in the past, and it is an exhilarating feeling- why not give it a try? Check out the details below.
Mark your calendar and get questions ready for your elected officials, the ANC 5B committee and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. Just by reading the listserve it is obvious, that there are plenty of community issues, that can be brought up in the meeting.
You can see the actual flyer here.
The meeting will take place on:
Date: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Time: 6:30PM – 8:30 PM
Place: Northeastern Presbyterian Church
2112 Varnum St., NE (corner of Eastern Ave)
HOST COMMISSIONER: Shirley Rivens Smith, 5B01
The Agenda Includes:
- Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
- DCPW Director William Howland
- 5D MPD
5B02 Support Letter to BZA
5B05 San Antonio Grill Presentation
Brookland Crime Meeting 2.11.2014, a set on Flickr.
Readers may recall that there was a meeting about the increase in neighborhood crime hosted by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie recently. At that meeting over 60 neighbors attended as well as a handful of 12th Street business owners. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC) for Single Member District (SMD) 5B03, Michael Morrison and 5B05, Janese Jones were present as well.
Ward 5 Councilmember McDuffie kicked the meeting off by declaring “I am solutions oriented person” and that he is interested in hearing the communities concerns. Eddie Johnson from the Greater Brookland Business Association (GBBA), a co-host of the meeting, noted that with new developments in the Brookland area, police forces will be stretched.
There were many representatives from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) including Commander Diane Groomes, (Assistant Chief in charge of the Patrol Services and School Security Bureau) new District 5 Commander Diedre Porter , and many other MPD officers from the 5th and 4th Districts.Commander Porter gave an update on recent crimes. The Silvestre’s armed robbery is still open and under investigation. The CVS “smash and grab” is still open, they are working with Maryland peers, and actively investigating. She also addressed the topic of complaints of Luke C Moore Academy students using pot and loitering around 10th and Monroe NE. The Commander met with the school’s principle and increased officer patrols around Turkey Thicket and the 10th Street area. So far there have been no new complaints. The Commander discussed crime statistics in comparison to last year at this same time. Overall crime is up especially along the 12th Street corridor, for example, theft from autos is up from 6 last year at this time to 9 this year. The Commander plans to add foot or bike patrols as resources are available, especially this summer.
The meeting was then turned over to the community for a question and answer session. I tried my best to capture the conversation below. All in all it was a good meeting. I think I speak for the community members present in that we appreciated MPD’s and Councilmember McDuffie’s community engagement. In the end though, I can’t say that we walked away with any kind of “Action Plan” or concrete next steps. Quite frankly, I think it is up to the community to determine what types of steps we would like to see taken and bring them forward. I spoke to ANC Commissioners Jones and Morrison and Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) President Tom Bridge afterward, and all were on board with coming up with a unified set of actions the community would like to see taken. Tom Bridge offered that the BNCA could organize community watch or walks. MPD representatives wanted the community to know that they can send texts to 50411 which is an anonymous tip line, if you see something out of the normal, or call 911. Also, they offered practical advice such as making sure your home’s exterior lights are on, not to leave valuables like purses and laptops in cars and don’t use electronic devices or earplugs when walking.
- Q) The CVS And Silvestre’s robberies seem to be professional. A) We don’t know if the thieves are “professional”, but each crime was clearly coordinated.
- Q) There was a discussion about the MPD 2011 – 2012 crime report, it appeared that crimes in many categories are going up – what is MPD going to do? A) While there was an overall increase, there was a decrease in violent crime. Theft from robberies and property crime are up. Generally MPD looks at the previous 30 days and year to date statistics and adjusts resources and tactics accordingly.
- Q) We need community policing/community involvement and relationships, not just car patrols. A) Commander Porter agreed that we should have more police walking. Also, the police would be happy to walk with organized neighborhood patrols/watches.
- Q) There was a discussion of “close rates” of crimes. A) Commissioner Groomes said they do a number of activities to solve crimes for example, note crime trends and deploy plain clothes officers, look at neighboring /PG County trends, cracking down on second hand dealers of stolen goods, and partner with METRO police. DC’s closure rate is higher than most cities.
- Q) Is there any news on the shooting at 22nd and Lawrence? A) Actively investigating.
- Q) Do you have enough resources? If not how can we push for more? A) Commander Groomes – we have 100 more officers in the Academy. The Academy is full. DC is becoming a 24 hour city so that is an adjustment we are making.
- Q) What steps are being to make the Metropolitan Branch Trail more secure? A) We made 8 to 10 arrests on MBT last year. We have a bike patrol.
- Q) What is the long-range strategic plan for the area, factoring in the new developments and population increases? A) CM McDuffie said he is working on filling the gap between resources and need. He noted a strategic plan that he requested for the Trinidad neighborhood. Actions like increased patrols were implemented, but we can’t leave everything at foot of MPD. He said he is working with other agencies to try and connect young men with resources. He meets with the Deputy Mayor who is very interested that neighborhoods receive adequate policing for new developments. Also MPD looks at areas with developments and strategically deploys resources.
- There was discussion from residents about cleaning up our own neighborhood and getting to know each other. We shouldn’t assume unemployed people are not invested in the community. Let’s take control of our community. No one wants to hire kids with no skills, they need opportunity and skills.
- Q) I see kids smoking pot at Turkey Thicket or the gas station at 8:30 – 9:30 every morning and walk toward Luke C Moore. I didn’t know if they are students or not, but if they are, this is a problem because they cannot focus on school. We need plain clothes cops. A) Commissioner Porter promised to re-visit the Luke C Moore issue.
- ANC Commissioner Janese Jones noted that she has gotten a lot of feedback from residents that she could share. An ongoing issue is that Turkey Thicket is the 5th District and the Neighborhood across from it is the 4th District. This causes issues when the two districts aren’t coordinated or calls where police don’t respond because of district borders.
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is hosting a meeting in a response to a series of high profile and brazen crimes on 12th Street in Brookland, which prompted to us to start an online petition for increased police presence. Many thanks to the over 300 folks who signed, but now we need to follow through and demand a real action plan to keep our neighborhood safe. The meeting will also give the public a chance to meet new District 5 Commander Dierdre N. Porter (you can read her bio here). The meeting will take place on Tuesday February 11th at 6:00 pm at the Turkey Thicket gym. We strongly encourage everyone to come out.
On November 4th, 2014 DC will have its general election, and the seat for Ward 5 Councilmember will be on the ballot.We learned in late October that current Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie is seeking re-election, which shouldn’t be a surprise given his popularity. Then the race got more interesting in November when Brookland’s own ANC 5B04 Commissioner Carolyn Steptoe decided to jump in the race. The deadline for submitting petitions to get on the ballot was January 2nd, and while the signatures collected may still be challenged, the DC Board of Elections released the list of candidates on the ballot for the Democratic primary at this point. For Ward 5 Councilmember, these are:
- Kathy Henderson, current ANC Commissioner of SMD 5D05 (near Benning Rd. and Maryland Ave, NE). Her website is here.
- Jacqueline Manning, current ANC Commissioner of SMD 5C04 (near Mt. Olivet and Benning Roads, NE). We could not locate a website for Ms. Manning.
- Kenyan McDuffie, current Ward 5 Councilmember. His website is here.
- Carolyn Steptoe, current ANC Commissioner of Bookland’s SMD 5B04. Her website is here.
We congratulate all of these candidates for seeking public office and look forward to hearing more about what they plan to offer the residents of Ward 5. Here is where you come in – we are asking readers to submit questions for these candidates through our comments section below. We will aggregate the most common questions, ask them of each candidate, and assuming they respond, post their answers here.
Yesterday was a big day for Rhode Island Avenue NE. Thanks to the hard work of a lot of folks for a long time, it will be the newest of eight non-profit Main Street programs in DC. Main Streets is a program that spurs the revitalization of traditional business districts by retaining and recruiting businesses, improving commercial properties with things like facade improvements and streetscapes, building rehabilitation projects and marketing and branding efforts. In addition, the good folks of the Friends of Rhode Island Avenue (FoRIA) were selected to manage the program. We have seen the FoRIA team work tirelessly to bring positive change to Rhode Island Avenue for years and would like to congratulate them on this accomplishment. The Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street program will span 4th Street NE to 24th Street NE.
You may recall that there has been a vacancy in the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) seat for Single Member District (SMD) 5B03 for a while. That was rectified in November when Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie swore in Michael Morrison as the new commissioner.
— Kenyan R. McDuffie (@CM_McDuffie) November 23, 2013
Not wasting any time, Commissioner Morrison has already called his first meeting for this Thursday night, his message is below. SMD 5B03 boundaries are Monroe Street NE to the North, 13th Street NE to the West, Rhode Island Avenue to the South, and 19th and 18th Street NE to the East. We wish Commissioner Morrison the best in his new position.
I will be holding my first SMD 5B03 meeting this coming Thursday Dec. 19 in the auditorium of the Mary McLeod Bethune School from 6-7pm. The address of the school is 1404 Jackson St NE, Washington, DC 20017. However, the main entrance (denoted by its purple doors) is off 14th Street and is toward the center of the block.
There is no set agenda for this first meeting. I plan to introduce myself so that everybody can get to know me a bit, and to also give everybody in attendance a chance to communicate to me what issues that I can be of help with.
Thanks and see you there !!
ANC 5B03 – anc5B03.morrison (at) gmail
A few months ago Councilmember McDuffie announced that he secured funding for a “Clean Team” to service part of 12th Street in Brookland. The clean team program is run by the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) and includes the following services:
- Removal of litter, graffiti, illegal posters and stickers, snow and ice
- Recycling glass, aluminum and plastic items collected from sidewalks and gutters
- Maintenance of street trees through mulching, aeration, weeding and watering.
- Landscaping of planters, hanging baskets and tree boxes located in service areas
- Tracking and reporting public space defects via 311
So, you can see why we were delighted by the announcement. Months passed and we still didn’t see any sign of the “Brookland Clean Team”, so we inquired and sources then told us that there were some contractual issues, but that the program was still on. Looking out the window last Sunday morning, a group of men in blue outfits, pushing trash cans up 12th Street and sweeping leaves and trash, caught my eye. Shani went outside to talk to one of the gentlemen, who confirmed that the Clean Team has begun and mentioned the organization he works for, “Ready, Willing + Working” (RWW), a non-profit organization that provides work opportunities for homeless men. I was curious about what RWW is all about and reached out to the President of “Capital Hill Business Improvement District & Ready, Willing + Working” Patty Brosmer. She expressed to me that she was very excited that their organization was granted the contract for the Brookland Clean Team. She said that because of it they were able to add 4 more men to their work force. Here are her answers to my questions:
– When was RWW founded and what triggered the initiative?
RWW was founded in 2008 [see below for further answer]
– Who was or still is the creative and driving mind behind the organization?
Our program is modeled after The Doe Fund’s “Ready, Willing & Able” program in NYC. They’re a $55 million a year operation serving up to 1000 men per year. I am long-time friends with the founders George and Harriet McDonald and had been trying to get the program in DC for a long time. With a federal grant, they came down in 2003 when I started the Capitol Hill BID. They partnered with a faith-based organization who badly mismanaged the program – so the Doe Fund severed their ties after the first two years. We continued to contract with them hoping the situation would improve. It deteriorated further, and early in 2008 our board approved the formation of Ready, Willing & Working. We began services in March 2008.
– What are the requirements for somebody to be accepted into the program?
Able bodied men, most with histories of addiction and/or incarceration. They must be clean of drugs and alcohol to enter the program.
– How many candidates do you have and can the organization accommodate all those who like to join?
Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all who wish to join. We currently have jobs for 24 men on 5 work sites: Capitol Hill BID; Adams Morgan BID; Barracks Row Main Street; North Capitol Main Street; and, 12th Street NE. We have men coming to our office (a trailer in the parking garage of union station – not easy to find) every day applying for jobs because someone they know told them about us and they want the same opportunities. We have quite a long waiting list.
– What can we expect on 12th Street NE in Brookland. Where and when exactly will we be able to see the RWW team?
The clean team will be deployed 5 days per week, Thursday – Monday from 7 – 3 or 8 – 4, and all but 4 holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, MLK Day)
– Is it going to be an assigned crew to the Brookland 12th Street project, or are the gentlemen rotating between locations?
Your team consists of 4 men. Antoine Walker is lead man; Clifton Mozee; Norbert Taylor; and Robert Mason. They will be regulars and you will get to know them!
– How long has the contract been awarded for? If residents like the job the RWW team is doing, who should they contact to encourage the contract to be extended?
The contract will run through fiscal year 2014 – until September 30, 2014. We would love feedback and your support to keep the contract running beyond that point. We may have to go through another competitive bidding process so community support will help! People to reach out to would be Vincent Orange chairman of the oversight committee, your councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and Robert Summers, Director of DSLBD. Also, letting the Mayor’s office know wouldn’t hurt!
– How can Brooklanders support the RWW organization?
Tax deductible contributions can be made to Ready, Willing & Working – a 501c3 organization. They can be made online through our website: www.rwwdc.org or by mail at: c/o Capitol Hill Business Improvement District, 30 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002. The service contract with the city pays their salaries and RWW provides supportive services like case management and relapse prevention; metro fare cards; meals and incentives.
Having had the opportunity to learn more about RWW, I am not only excited that 12th Street is going to be cleaned on a regular basis, but that through the service we receive, a few men are being given the opportunity to turn their life around with a job, income and the outlook to (re)establish a normal life. Please, if you see the gentlemen working their way up and down 12th Street, say hello and thank them for their work, especially during inclement weather conditions. As Patty says in her statement, please reach out to her, if you have any comments or suggestions. I am sure she and her team are willing to do whatever possible to get the job done right, and hopefully to be awarded the contract for years to come. We would like to thank our Councilmember McDuffie for making this happen and hope he is able to continue to fund the team in future years. And of course positive feedback to the DC City Council, the Mayor’s office and the DSLBD will be helpful. Here are some more information about the RWW organization at a glance: