Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Response from ANC2F

The next ANC meeting will be on Wednesday, January 4, 2006, at 7 PM at The Washington Plaza Hotel. In response to the comments from yesterday's posting, ANC Chairman Charles Reed has issued the following:

Just to remove any question on the point, the parking issue will be on the ANC agenda for January.

I hope Anonymous (whether one or more) will attend and contribute constructively to finding some solutions. There will also be representatives of some of the churches there.

It will be helpful in dealing with highly charged problems like this one to realize that simple solutions are not easy to come by. Sure, virtually all will agree that laws should be applied evenly throughout the City, and that even churchgoers need to obey the law. But we don’t write on a clean slate, and there is a strong feeling among some churchgoers that their parking practices, which have been followed for decades without dissent, have become an entitlement that should not be overturned.

Reasonable people ought to be able to come to mutually agreeable solutions that permit parishioners to practice their religion in a church many have attended for years (regardless of where they now live) and at the same time do not block residents from their own homes.

Now, if this sounds a bit too “political” for Anonymous, just keep in mind that the search here is for a solution. Not polemics, not civil strife and recriminations, and not one-upmanship.

Finally, I may add that there is an example of a successful effort to get a parking solution found. Residents of Corcoran street near John Wesleyan Zion Church were at war on the same subject a few years ago. Reverend Shannon, of that Church and his neighbors were able to get to a modus vivendi.

Let’s see if we can’t do the same.

Charles Reed
Chairman, ANC2F

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did they do it? What did they do to solve the parking problem?

Anonymous said...

I would like to make two possible solutions for easing the parking problem: 1. church goers could park in the center of Vermont Ave up against the traffic island which would not block anyone in. A similar practice is done for the church on NY Avenue between 13 & 14th, 2. Angled parking on all of Vermont Ave on Sunday if not permanently (this is an issue that has been discussed in the past with DDOT but never acted on).

However, do not support any mutually agreeable solution that involves blocking people in even if the churches keep keys and will move cars if asked.

Anonymous said...

I think the solution should be churches encouraging their members to take Metro. Either take the train, find a real spot or get towed. Pretty simple, I think.

Anonymous said...

Being a simple person (so much so I had to consult both a Latin and English dictionary to understand some of Mr. Reed's words) I don't see why this isn't being viewed as a traffic and curbside planning issue. Can't we ask one of DDOT's traffic planners for Ward 2 to attend the meeting to see if we can create more safe parking (i.e. diagonal etc.)? If this becomes a resident vs. church issue no one will emerge victorious and a lot of ill-will is inevitiable.

Chris K. said...

Just so no one else has to look it up. . .

modi vivendi:
1. A manner of living; a way of life. 2. A temporary agreement between contending parties pending a final settlement.

Please join us at the upcoming ANC meeting. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

To: Chairman Reed

The “Anonymous” authors on this web site are many. Of which I am only one (aparently the one that authored the comments you did not like). I was present at the last ANC meeting as I hve been present at many past ones.

None of the issues that we are experiencing now (prostitution, drugs, crime, parking, homeless, etc) are new to Logan Circle but we continue to behave in ways that makes it appear that they are. I firmly believe there are many people on the ANC, the LCCA and other organizations that happily dance to the tune played by the Mayor’s and Jack Evan’s office. Do you really think crime has dropped signifficantly in the past few months in the Logan area or is that some people have been applying pressure to the owners of this blog to keep the negative material to a minimum?

If the people involved in the parking situation take their prevervial eye off the ball, even for a minute, the whole thing will be swept under the rug and a year or two from now the issue will come up again.

Regardless of how church goers came to feel they are entitled to park anyway they please (and this is not just on Sundays) they are not. We live here, we pay taxes here, we vote here and we are not asking for any kind of special treatment or entitlement. We are just asking that the laws and rules be applied equitably to all. Why do we need to compromise?

Logan Circle News said...

We post items as we see fit.

There is no influence from the Mayor's or Councilmember Evans's office - and we typically post items that we believe will spark the community's interest or are given to us directly from residents themselves.

If we were influenced by other powers, would we have posted the shooting at the Helix, the report card on Chief Ramsey, or be the first to report about church goer parking?

Crime reports have been low lately, because we rely on input from the community (and as we voluntarily run this blog, we don't always have the time to go through MPD's crime stats). So our thanks to the residents and officers from MPD for giving us the information that benefits the community.

Unless you are a conspiracy theorist, you're going to have to take our word on this.

Anonymous said...

"permit parishioners to practice their religion in a church many have attended for years (regardless of where they now live)"??????

Please, that is very disingenuous. NO ONE i know of is interested in prohibiting anyone from practicing their religion. Since when is insisting that people cease unsafe illegal parking infringing on religious practice? RIDE THE METRO, CARPOOL, FIND A LEGAL PARKING SPACE and WALK A FEW BLOCKS. Its not rocket science.

It took elementary school children SUING the church on R between 13th and vermont before they agreed to stop parking on the school athletic field, which was ruining the field for the school children. Don't expect proactive compromise from any neighborhood churches, I have lived in the neighborhood for almost 20 years; this is NOT a new complaint, the churches in the neighborhood have been hearing complaints from residents for longer than i have been here and have demonstrated no interest in coming to any accomodation.

Anonymous said...

Chairman Reed or someone please answer the first comment's question. What was the solution found between the residents of Corcoran street and the John Wesleyan Zion Church?

Anonymous said...

I hope I do not offend, but does it really matter what the solution was unless it called for the churchgoers to park legally? I agree with the majority of the posts on this issue. Its not about allowing people to practice their religion, its about doing what is right. Its against the laws so don't double park! Simple as that.

Todd said...

My name is Todd and I wrote the letter regarding the parking problem with church congregants in Logan. While this is obviously a contentious issue, I do believe solutions can be found that will allow church-goers to attend church functions without parking illegally ... we just need to be patient and work together in good faith. I appreciate the ANC putting this on the agenda for their upcoming meeting. Also, some local residents and I will be meeting with church leaders in early January to open communication toward resolution of this problem. Finally, I had a very positive meeting with representatives of the metropolitan police department who assured me that they will ticket any vehicles parked in a manner to create safety hazards (such as in front of fire hydrants, cross-walks, intersections, and bus stops) even on Sundays, as well as those that are double-parked on weekdays, while we continue working to find a permanent solution to this problem. I encourage everyone to be patient while we attempt to work this out and find a solution that will avoid blocking in residents or creating safety hazards. If anyone wants additional information, please feel free to contact me at loganpkgenforce@aol.com. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Not to be the wet towel here but the MPD's talk with you Todd sounds like they were doing you a favor. I mean come on ... "they will ticket any vehicles parked in a manner to create safety hazards (such as in front of fire hydrants, cross-walks, intersections, and bus stops) even on Sundays, as well as those that are double-parked on weekdays ..."

The MPD should have been doing that before. It really pisses me off that they were allowing public safety hazards to go unpunished (and I know they were seeing police vechiles go by my street while a care blocked a fire hydrant...). Its typical DC government and why we don't have a state because we can't take care of the small stuff like this crap.

Should we give a little extra more to the MPD to actually do their jobs and enforce the law by ticketing on Sundays, not just the other six days of the week.

Anonymous said...

Actually the MPD does not ticket on the week days but I understand your anger. The MPD has an unwritten custom to not ticket churches on Sundays so that is the heart of the problem and probably the only solution is ending it. Until the double parking stops the community will be unhappy. It amazes me that the city government allows people from out of state to do illegal things and get away with it (while ticketing people who actually live in the Logan Circle). It would be funny if it were not true.

Anonymous said...

This issue comes down to this for the police: Who will stand up for the officer when they do their job and ticket church cars? When they do this, the church crowd will file complaints against the officers, and the DC Government, along with the MPD, will void the ticket and tell the officer not to do it again. If the officer does it again, they are disobeying an order and will be disciplined. It is not the police officer that you should be complaining about. It is the command staff of the department and the city. This goes higher than the district commanders and rests on the shoulders of the chief and his assistants. If the officer writes 50 tickets on double parked cars on a sunday, there will be a riot at the police station and the chief's email will crash due to the overload of complaints. The police department needs the civic organizations, including the churches during its yearly events, public service messages, etc. They are not about to alienate them. I have heard officials at the Third District tell fellow officers like myself to go out and write the tickets, and that they will support us, but who knows what the chief will do to them for encouraging this enforcement. For the record, I am a police officer, and for fear of retribution, I am signing this as anonymous. I work for the Sgt that posts on this blog regularly, so if you read this often, you will know who he is, but I can't reveal who I am. And as for the person who responded to Todd by saying, "and I know they were seeing police vechiles go by my street while a care blocked a fire hydrant...", while responding to the dozens of 911 and 311 calls that we get per 8 hour shift, often we do not see, or have to look past a few traffic violations in order to get to the robbery or stabbing that just occurred. We are human, and we do miss things from time to time, so cut us a bit of slack. I don't come down to your office and criticize the way you do your job each day and tell you that I pay your salary, do I? you can only imagine how often we hear that. We may be "public servants" but we are people too. Just asking for a bit of courtesy. And finally, we do ticket people on weekends and weekdays. Because you have not seen it, or because someone that you wanted to get a ticket didn't, doesn't mean that we don't do it. You may never see people pick their noses, but it doesn't mean that they don't. you just don't get to watch them 24 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

Thank you officer - I've always had little doubt that the problem lies higher up the food chain than where you stand and you being the most visible part of the equation get to bear the brunt of the blame. I would like to know what level of government (council, mayor etc.) keeps the pressure on to look the other way - makes sense that it's someone who needs to court the electorate and doesn't want controversy.

Anonymous said...

Todd – Although I know that you and your neighbors are doing all this because of the problems you have personally encountered I would like to thank you. If you do not allow the issue to die down (back to business as usual) I am sure our neighborhood will be all the better for it.

Anonymous Officer – There are more people than you will know that do appreciate all that you do! Navigating the political/legal maze in this city must be a nightmare. Hopefully if the people at the top realize that the spotlight is on them and not coming off they will resolve this issue once and for all. Then we can move on to the remaining issues that are plaguing our neighborhood (crime, prostitution, drugs, homelessness, etc).

Anonymous said...

Why not extend the “Ticket Nazis” working hours to midnight on weekdays and include weekends? They are extremely efficient and appear to be insulated from city politics.

Anonymous said...

Things that make you go HUMMM?

Disgruntled Residents … OK

Disgruntled Church-Going Non-Residents … NOT OK

Bob said...

I just want to point out that the double parkers are from out of town. It shouldn't really matter what they have to say.

As for the officers, I say they are doing what the can and the problem seems to rest higher up. I mean I think all of us have heard one local church has friends in high places in the MPD (in fact the church brags about it).

Anonymous said...

Since the more recent post is censoring comments i'll try and post here. Keep in mind that in addition to being a religious institution the neighborhood churches are historically bases of political power in dc and similar to small time organized crime groups or unions in other cities, have exercised that power in DC for decades. Like unions which see their political power diminishing with lower membership, perhaps the churches may now be forced to obey the law because the number of their parishoners who vote in dc is lower. They still wield financial power and political clout though and that is a factor that has absolutely nothing to do with religion.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see what the ACLU would have to say about this issue. This seems like a clear violation of the separation of church and state. I would bet that national attention or a lawsuit would solve this parking problem.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the Logan Circle News is stoping comments on the lastest post because they don't want the discussion to become heated? I haven't seen anything in the posts that should warrent censoring anyone so I really can't understand the refusal to make available a comments section. Will Logan Circle News explain?

Anonymous said...

This is really an issue of accountability of the DC government. The powers that be have such a casual attitude towards "victimless" crimes. We spend more per capita per student and get the worst schools and sweatheart consultant contracts....oh well. DC Mayor smokes crack and won't pay his taxes....yaaawwwn. Armed robberies in broad daylight in Logan... Council can't be bothered.

The way Guiliani turned NYC from a sewer to a place people want to live and visit is by enforcing ALL the laws equally, not picking and choosing and NOT by allowing business as usual. By increasing the expectations of public behavior and accountabilty, it makes even the smallest crimes intollerable (public urination, vandalism, illegal parking), and makes violent crimes so repugnant, that people take real action and the criminals fear real reprecutions. It seemed to work pretty well. We need a Guiliani down here.

Anonymous said...

COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!!!

I am so tired of hearing “that is how it has always been” or “you should have seen how bad it was in the 80’s” or “this has always been a problem” every time I register a complaint about something with city officials. Will we ever really fix an issue and move forward or are we forever doomed to talk it to death every few years?

Michael said...

Logan Circle News: were you offended by that idiot poster with the conspiracy theory?

What you wrote back was right on and put them in their place.

Please don't feel that the volunteer hours aren't appreciated. Even though our opinions vary, everyone in the community seems to be enjoying the blog.

Anonymous said...

Michel – I don’t know who you are or where you were when we were having all kinds of meetings and protests regarding the crime issue, but you have no idea the kind of pressure that has been applied by many people especially influential residents of Logan Circle.

Many people tried to completely stop the residents from bringing the crime issue to the forefront. The outgoing president of the LCCA even prevented some LCCA board members from responding to calls from reporters about the issue (until it got so out of hand he had to jump on board). Many residents and business owners did not like the publicity and still don’t and they did not like the creation of this blogg.

There are many ways to exert pressure that do not come directly from the Mayor’s or Jack Evan’s office but in the end if not conspiracy it is at least collusion.

And if the owners of this blogg dispute the above statements they are doing themselves and this blogg a disservice because they know that every word I am saying is true (and that there is much more that I am not saying).

We love the blogg ... do not sensor it!

Michael said...

You say that the blog owners are receiving pressure from city leaders and then you turn around put demand and pressure on them yourself! That's hipocrisy.

It's amazing that anyone will volunteer to do anything with your attitude. I wouldn't be surprised if this blog is shut down with all the cowardly anonymous comments being left.

Anonymous said...

Asking for no sensoring and that they do not fold under pressure is cowardice?

I am sure there are many things that surprise you ... and I would not be surprised if this blogg did shut down. But it will not be because of the comments left on it. It will be because people will get tired of reading things that are sanitized or because the people that want it shut down will have won.

Alan said...

I have been hearing about people wanting the blog to be shut down. That may be true, but how does anyone concerned with Logan Circle have the power to tell www.blogger.com to shut down a blog?

I guess people could send realy nasty email to the author of this blog but I doubt that will work. I run my own blog and get tons of nasty emails. It comes with job of running a blog.

Todd said...

FYI - I just sent the following email message to a Seargent at the Metropolitan Police Department (as well as to a number of city officials and the press) with whom I met the other day regarding the Logan church parking issue.

"Dear Seargent _____:

As a followup up to our conversation the other day, I would like to relate to you the following.

It is just a little before noon on Saturday, December 17, and there are currently 7 cars illegally double-parked on Vermont Avenue, NW in front of the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church and, even worse, several cars blocking fire hydrants, cross-walks and intersections ... despite the fact that there are several legal parking spaces visibly available all within 2 blocks of here and lots of space available in the 2 parking lots owned by the church on the other side of the street. Indeed, as I was just coming home from getting breakfast, a car attempting to turn right on red from 12th onto Vermont almost hit my car because there is a minivan parked at the intersection that is blocking the view of oncoming drivers. I observed the driver of the minivan illegally park approximately 2 hours ago and go into the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, again despite the fact that there were several spaces available on 12th Street at the time. As suggested, I have called the DC non-emergency police number and requested ticketing and towing.

This is a prime example of the problem that we are having in this neighborhood. Major church services are not going on today at the church and there is ample parking available. Yet, church congregants continue to ignore the laws and park literally in the middle of the street in front of the church rather than take a minute to find legal parking and walk the one or two blocks to the building. The fact that I was almost involved in an accident due to a church-goers car illegally blocking an intersection is evidence of the safety and liability issues raised here ... besides the matter of common courtesy and convenience to residents.

I sincerely hope that the dispatcher sends an officer over in response to my call and tickets the illegally parked vehicles as there is no basis or justification for this type of behavior.

Thank you."

Sgt. Emerman said...

FYI, the I was not the Sergeant that it was sent to directly, but I did get a CC on it, so thanks. If you speak to me about an issue, you can freely mention my name on here, and that goes for all involved. I was the one that spoke to you (Todd) at the ANC meeting. I am aware of the discussion that took place between you and the other Sgt, and I return to work on Sunday 12/18 for the evening shift. We will see what has developed on his watch during the day. Keep our fingers crossed.

todd said...

to be fair, i did see a police car parked outside of the church yesterday when i got back from the gym a few hours after i sent the referenced email ... and, the double-parked cars were moved shortly thereafter. i have to assume, therefore, that the police asked the church congregants to move the illegally parked cars, which we as residents appreciate very much. and, while double-parking remains a problem on sundays that we are still working to resolve, i do see police officers out this morning ticketing those vehicles that are creating safety hazards by parking in front of fire hydrants, intersections, and cross-walks ... which we also appreciate. as i said before, i am confident that if we all are patient and work together in good faith we can find alternative parking that will allow church functions to continue without inconveniencing residents or creating safety problems. many thanks to the police for their initial efforts in this matter.

todd said...

as a followup to my earlier message, i would point out that after the police initially came early this morning, later parishoners came and parked in those same safety violating zones (fire hydrants, crosswalks, etc.) as did the earlier parishoners that were asked to move by the police. both the alley exit to my garage and the driveway are blocked by illegally parked vehicles. and, as predicted, there is some kind of emergency now going on that required an ambulance and fire truck on our street. vermont avenue is now 5 rows thick of vehicles and nobody can go anywhere ... including myself for my appointment. of course, this is not the fault of sgt. emerman and i do appreciate the police at least coming early this morning. but, i want to be clear about the extent of this problem. we are all now virtually trapped with no way out. obviously, this is not a workable situation.

Sgt. Emerman said...

Officers issued numerous tickets this morning, and are still out there. I will forward the information to them and attempt to get them back to the area. In addition, was a call to 311 placed regarding this recent development? If so, an officer will be dispatched, or may have been already. I appreciate your patience in this matter and acknowledgement that it won't fix overnight. Thanks.

Sgt. Emerman said...

I have an officer on the scene right now, and the only thing that they found was one car double parked. The officer has personally written 10 tickets this morning, but there are no visible violations other than the one car mentioned above. Make sure that you are calling 311 with these complaints, because as you can see, 45 minutes has elapsed since I have been able to check the internet and the violators are gone now.

Steph said...

Thanks Seargent Emerman and Tod for working on this problem. I also live in the area and got blocked in this morning and went to the church to have the car moved but each church said it was a congregant from another church so I finally gave up and stayed home. This is very frustrating because I should be able to leave my home even on Sundays if I want to. And there are about 10 cars double parked on Vermont right now at 3:30 even though church services are over. Maybe we can't fix this overnight, but I agree with Tod's comments that we ahve to fix it. I like having the churches in the neighborhood but church members need to learn to be considerate of their neighbors and find proper parking. Perhaps they can arrange to use a nearby parking lot or make carpools or use public trasnportation or get a shuttle bus for Sundays?

Rick said...

I think the problem wasn't as bad this Sunday, but it still was pretty bad. I mean we should all remember double parking is illegal.

I find it humerous that other churches in DC have found solutions to this problem but these Logan Circle ones haven't. Maybe the ANC can give the churches a civic's lession.