Thursday, December 29, 2005
Since its inception three months ago, I, along with the help of others, have labored to post new content daily on this site for the benefit of the community. We have grown from focusing on robbery sprees to reporting on neighborhood events, the parking issue, and community service projects. We have incorporated postings from city resources, our friends at MPD, employees at the Mayor's office, and our local media teams. We update our poll to test the pulse of the community, and we have allowed commentary from various groups and individuals.
It's clear that the blog is in demand by the neighborhood it aims to serve. Since its creation, this blog receives hundreds of hits a day, and we continue to have a steady stream of faithful readers.
As we move into a new year, let me be clear on our goal: this blog has been and will continue to exist in order to bring about a stronger and more united Logan Circle Community.
While we have made great strides in reaching this goal, we still have far to go. And to speak frankly, I can't do it alone. In the new year, I will be working with the LCCA and their core of volunteers to develop this blog further. I hope to remain as an editor to the blog, working with a team of regular contributors. If you would like to sign up for this responsibility, please let me know.
Finally, a word on comments. It seems to me that, unfortunately, there are people who would rather be negative and attack their fellow neighbor rather than offer constructive solutions or helpful insight into current issues. While such behavior is beyond general netiquette and common courtesy, (observed by the majority of our readers) it doesn't need to be made easier with anonymous commenting.
Moving into 2006, should this trend continue, we will eliminate anonymous commenting and all will need to be a registered user in order to post comments. Remember that if we are to emerge as a stronger and more unified community, we'll need to identify our neighbors in order to work with each other.
In closing, I state sincere thanks to everyone who has given me support towards this blog. Thanks especially to Lt. Smith, Sgt. Emerman, Jennifer Trock, Frank Mobilio, Kevin Ivers, and Brian and Heather Vargas for their unwavering support.
To a better year for Logan Circle in 2006 - I remain,
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Plymouth is a 74 unit, non-subsidized building located at 1236-11th St., NW, at the southwestern tip of Logan/Shaw. It is populated mostly by Central Americans from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.
The Plymouth 2005 Tenant Association was formed in late April, when the landlord officially notified the tenants of his intent to sell the building. With Manna CDC organizing assistance, the tenants quickly responded with their intent to purchase the building, getting 68 of the 69 occupied units to join the tenant association!! They are currently in the process of evaluating the feasibility of a tenant-sponsored purchase.
The Tenant Association is, at the same time, trying to deal with twice-yearly rent increases in the midst of severe housing code violations and a serious security problem. Because the building is currently exempt from rent control, rents have skyrocketed to as much as $1500 per month.
Manna CDC began working with the Plymouth in April 2005, as part of our ongoing commitment to create racial and economic equity in the Shaw community. We are developing the in-house capacity and external relationships to truly bring together the various communities of color within Shaw to work together for changes that will benefit all of us.
UPDATE! The tenant association at the Plymouth continues to work on the purchase of their 74-unit building to keep it affordable and make security upgrades and repairs needed.
They voted on November 19 to partner with Manna CDC and the National Housing Trust to buy their building and operate it as affordable rental housing, owned jointly by the three groups. The steep purchase price of $7.8 million means a lot of subsidy is needed, and a critical loan application will be made to DHCD next month.
For more information on the Plymouth or our Latino Tenant Organizing, please contact Benito Diaz at: email@example.com.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
I am hoping that Sgt. Emerman or someone from the community can offer some suggestions here.
Our building has a three-car length no parking zone in the front that serves as the building entrance. This space is extremely important as we are currently completely surrounded by construction.
Unfortunately, some folks (very often the same cars) take it upon themselves to use the no parking zone as their personal free parking spots. This creates not only a serious inconvenience for building residents who need to bring up their groceries, but it also presents a hazard for any wheelchair-bound friends we may have.
I've requested that the parking enforcement folks respond to this serveral times, but the response is always along the lines of "no violations found at 4:50pm" and the service request is closed - well of course not, the parking happens overnight and on weekends, not during parking enforcement business hours.
The folks who do this have found a very obvious and easy loophole in the parking enforcement system, and we do not know how to get a better response out of the City. We don't think it would be appropriate to call 311 for after-hours enforcement, unless anyone disagrees?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Monday, December 26, 2005
On Friday, December 23, 2005 at approximately 9:00 pm, officers responded to a call for a robbery in the 1000 block of P Street NW.
Upon investigation, it was determined that 5 juveniles, ages 14-18 approached 2 citizens in the block and ordered them to give up their money. Taken from the victims was $10, a wallet, credit cards and a set of keys.
The juveniles then fled the area eastbound on foot. Responding officers arrived on scene and additional officers canvassed the area and located 2 of the 5 subjects at 7th and P Streets NW. A positive identification was made by the complainants, and they were placed into custody and charged with Robbery.
One of the arrestees is 15 and the other is 16. One resides in the area, and the other in southeast.
At this time, I do not know of the status of the charges with the office of the Attorney General, but will advise when I find out.
Enjoy the holidays.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
One recent Saturday, I sat on my front stoop in Logan Circle and watched a Hispanic man attempt to hail a cab.
In the course of 15 minutes, no less than four cabs slowed, looked at him and drove on. These blatant acts of racial discrimination outraged me, yet didn't surprise me given the above-the-law hubris that I, a white male, have encountered from D.C. cab drivers.
Racial and ethnic discrimination by cab drivers, while perhaps the most outrageous of their practices, is not the entirety of the problem with cabs in this city. Continue reading David's letter here.
Forget the swank loft condos rising everywhere, the rehabbed row houses, the abandoned public-housing complexes bulldozed and rebuilt. Forget the suburbanites and former urban refugees who are flocking to the city for its nightlife, easy commute and neighborhoods suddenly reborn.
The number of people living in the District has shrunk by nearly 4,000 in the past year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 3,718 fewer people, to be exact. Read the full article here.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Dupont Circle is what some call a mature market. This, I think, translates as "washed up."
The area remains attractive because of the tourists. However, tourists think of it as a desirable place to go because it's supposed to be kind of local, kind of wild and crazy.
Then they get there and have nowhere to go but Starbucks, Subway and Johnny Rockets. About as crazy as it gets is a few people not using sunblock in the circle itself, a ratty little park with a fountain smack in the middle of a lot of traffic.
This may please some, but not someone looking for wild and crazy, a taste of something different from home. Read the full article here.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
My roommate and I recently moved into a single family home in Logan Circle and are trying to acquaint ourselves with both civic and green activities in the circle, from the neighborhood association to crime watch to recycling.
Our most recent concern has been recycling: As we've just moved in, we have TONS of cardboard and other recyclable goods we'd like to get picked up.
When is pick-up for Logan Circle? and how do we get nifty red and blue bins?? and will the recycling truck pick up large items like cardboard?.. we left our cardboard out with the trash for Monday pick-up, but nobody picked it up....lots of appreciation for your advice!
Monday, December 19, 2005
The lead story in this week's edition of the Washington City Paper chronicles the lives of four teen-robbers and their journey with crime into adulthood.
What brought them to justice? A Logan Circle resident who caught them in the act between Q & Corcoran Streets. The resident used his digital camera then turned the evidence over to authorities.
As the City Paper put it: "Apparently, they weren’t cognizant of NIMBY crime fighters in the Logan Circle area. "
If NIMBY is the label we wear for protecting our homes and loved ones - then let the tribunal begin!
Friday, December 16, 2005
On December 6, a group of local residents sent a letter to city officials and the press complaining about the problem of illegal and double-parking by church congregants in the Logan community.
The issue has been placed on the agenda for the January 4 meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Committee. In addition, a group of church leaders and local residents have agreed to meet in mid-January to open communication about the issue and discuss alternative solutions.
City officials and the police department are encouraging community residents and church members to work toward a mutually-agreeable solution. The police department will continue to exercise discretion in the enforcement of parking regulations on Sundays while the parties attempt to resolve the problem.
However, police representatives have notified both the churches and local residents that double-parking will not be tolerated on weekdays and that vehicles creating safety hazards by parking in front of fire hydrants, cross walks, intersections, and bus stops will be actively ticketed to ensure the safety of the community.
For additional information, contact Todd Lovinger at: LoganPkgEnforce@aol.com.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Gift wrapping paper, holiday catalogues, gift boxes, and greeting cards are all recyclable!
The holiday season offers many opportunities to recycle, above and beyond the usual paper, plastic, glass and metal, according to the District Department of Public Works, Office of Recycling.
Rather than trashing those piles of gift boxes, tags, wrapping paper, and the rolls the paper comes on, put those items directly into your recycling cart or bin. Don't forget all those gift catalogues, holiday cards and shopping lists. When you're finished with them, they're recyclable, too.
For more recycling information, call: 202-645-8245.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
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.
DDOT is currently exploring techniques to combat accidents and fatalities that happen on roads and sidewalks throughout the District. One of their experiments include pedestrians holding bright orange flags as they cross from corner to corner. In April, the Washington Post covered this experiment, and this week, the Washington Examiner did the same (see this article).
In terms of pedestrian fatalities (caused by vehicles) there is a 40 percent increase from last year. This is without adding bicycles into the mix. Walking around Logan, it's easy to see why. Traffic around the circle, up and down 15th Street, and even on P (between 14th & 15th) will keep any walker on their toes.
Until DDOT's experiments are concluded, and even then, it goes without saying that all pedestrians should stick to the sidewalk (even if it's more convenient to jaywalk from Whole Foods to Wachovia or Logan Tavern - and a lot of us have done it) and all drivers (especially those that are making turns) need to go slowly, and keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists, and even segways.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
My sister, and I were mugged at gun point Sunday evening (December 12th) around 10th & O Street. We needed something that we could not get from Whole Foods thus went to the Giant at 9th & O St. around 5:45 PM, and were mugged on our way home sometime around 6:30ish.
The muggers were three young black men between the ages of 16 - 20 yrs. and they were dressed in all black. One had a silver revolver, he was medium colored skinned, about 5'9", and wore a 3/4 length black puffy jacket with light colored fur trimming the hood and a black knit hat.
I did not get a good look at the other two but they were all under 6 ft. One of the others was maybe 5'11" with darker skin...again dressed in all black. In the small chance that they may have tossed our belongings somewhere they took my sister's pink & green flamingo wallet (containing her DC driver's license & credit cards), and my black satin coach purse with a black wallet (containing my entire life unfortunately with the exception of my house keys & check book), Samsung/verizon cell phone, and Nissan Altima car keys (with remote key access).
If someone happens to see either of these items lying around somewhere please call my
sister or I. (Contact information can be obtained by writing to: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please continue to exercise caution around our neighborhood. These three guys definitely knew what they are doing and appeared to be plotting the scenario before hand. As we were approaching 10th & O Street the one with the revolver peaked around the corner and walked back towards his friends hiding behind a building farther up on 10th.
When we came closer all 3 guys appeared, my sister and I received a weird vibe & both wanted to turn around but it all happened so fast. The three culprits were not aggressive, pulled out the gun and asked us to hand over our purses, when finished told us to walk away and if we looked back they would shoot us.
Later that evening when we spoke to a resident that lived on O St. around 10th he thought he saw these 3 guys fitting our description around 4:00 PM. He described them as lingering around and appearing to be up to no good.
It is my suspicion that these are the three guys that committed the armed muggings before hand and also with the incident involving the two younger black ladies. Hopefully these boys will be caught soon because they certainly do like to target
I'm reporting this in case anyone else has witnessed similar behavior on the part of the muggers or knows whether there were any completed muggings last Thursday, Dec. 8?
I and two friends were walking down Kingman btw P and Q street last Thursday night at 9 p.m. when we were passed by a guy with a ski mask and hood on walking briskly in our direction toward Q, following a young man with a backpack.
Before we passed him, he whistled to his companion who was walking on the other side of the block, and gestured for him to cross the street. After he passed us, he and his companion started running after the guy with the backpack. Just before they caught up with him, a tall man walking a dog turned the corner right in front of backpack guy.
The two would-be muggers sprinted off in the opposite direction. Now, we do not *know* for a fact that they were going to mug this guy, but the whistling and the walking on opposite sides of the street and their focus on the backpack guy all felt suspicious.
Has anyone heard of someone being mugged by an assailant who whistled first to a companion? I ask because I've never felt before that I came so close to witnessing or being a victim of a mugging.
Logan Circle was no stranger to BORF graffitti and tags, and today they continue to be present on street lamps, mailboxes, bathrooms, and trash cans (just look up and down 14th Street).
John Tsombiko's sentencing will be in February.
Monday, December 12, 2005
The Washington Times covered this story as well.
We will post further developments as this continues.
We need to get this out to the community. The two listed defendants are the currently most active criminals in our community that have pending cases. Both have active cases in court and we need to write the judges and the prosecutors to ensure that we keep them out of Logan Circle. We can also testify at the sentencing.
JACQUELINE JOHNSON LEE
File Date: 11/10/2005
Docket Number: 05314865 / M11818-05
Judge/Officer: JOHNSON, RAMSEY
Next Appearance Date: 12/16/2005 9:00am
Appearance Type: Status
Judge: Johnson, Ramsey
Ms. Johnson has a long history of prostitution at 11th Street and P Street, NW; she is a white female, blond hair, blue eyes, 5-7, 160 lbs and has a rough face. Each time she has been arrested, she has claimed that she lives at 1331 11th Street, NW (She does not) so that the judge won’t issue a stay a way notice to her. I got a letter from the property owner that reported that she does not live there. We need to use this and the fact that she has a long arrest history to ensue that the judge is severe on this case and ensures that she does not come back to Logan Circle to disrupt our community with prostitution
File Date: 10/31/2005
Docket Number: 05304971 / F06295-05
Judge/Officer: WINFIELD, SUSAN H
UCSA Distribution Cocaine
Next Appearance Date: 12/16/2005 9:30am
Appearance Type: Status
Judge: Winfield, Susan H
Mr. Gaines has also been arrested numerous times around 11th Street and N Street, NW, selling drugs. He is 5-6, 115 lbs, and walks with a severe limp. He lives on 7th Street and none of the judges have issued a stay a ways in any of his cases. So he keeps coming back time and time again. We need to use this and the fact that he has a long arrest history to ensue that the judge is severe on this case and ensures that he does not come back to Logan Circle to disrupt our community with dealing drugs.
Friday, December 09, 2005
Crimes in and around Wheaton Metro station from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2005:
- Total crimes: 195
- Drug charges: 45
- Robberies: 26
- Larcenies: 37
- Aggravated assaults: 13
- Weapons charges: 5
- Rape: 1
Source: Combined statistics from Metro Transit and Montgomery County police.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
If you haven't read the editorial, you can do so by clicking here. Of particular note, are the last two paragraphs in the editorial:
The greatest threat to the District -- besides the shootings, robberies and assaults -- is the possibility of the city's civic leadership becoming inured to crime and violence; that they will grow accustomed to accounts of weekend murders and begin to accept death on D.C. streets as undesirable but inevitable. Let it come to that, and general lawlessness and a meltdown in community values will not be far behind.
Chief Ramsey should be commended for the action he has taken. "We have to keep the streets safe," he told The Post's Del Quentin Wilber. Citing the four people who were killed in apparently unrelated incidents within six hours of one another, the chief said, "These are the kinds of things that spread fear and panic in the community." Chief Ramsey sees the emergency.
When will the official inhabitants of city hall and the District's civic community open their eyes?
Logan Circle mobilized in the face of crime - remember the timeline:
- The LCCA presented to the ANC on behalf of N Street residents to deter crime in our neigborhood.
- When Operation Fight Back was cancelled, the LCCA began a furious letter writing campaign to the Commander, copying in our Councilmember.
- Members of the LCCA and the ANC mobilized to confront Chief Ramsey at his press conference at the Reeves Center.
- This blog was created for the neighborhood.
- The ANC established a Crime and Public Safety Committee.
- The LCCA will be hosting the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, Chief Ramsey, and Michael Latessa, Director of the Office of Unified Communications at their next membership meeting in January to follow up with neighborhood concerns.
If you have a response to the Post's Omsbudmsan, Michael Geller, be sure to submit it. Logan Circle's civic community is NOT inured by crime and violence - we are the force deterring it.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
- Turn on lights, a radio, or a TV so it looks like someone's home.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows
- Don't display gifts where they can be seen from the outside.
If You Are Traveling:
- Get an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your home: shovel snow, pickup mail, and park in your space from time to time.
- Have mail and newspaper stopped - if it piles up, it's a sure sign that you are gone.
If You Are Shopping:
- Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
- Park in a well-lighted space, lock the car, close the windows, and hide bags and gifts in your trunk.
- Avoid carrying cash, pay with credit cards and checks whenever possible.
- Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets.
- Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security if separated from you.
- See Pickpocket and Theft prevention.
These tips and more can be found on MPD's holiday safety page.
Our personal reminder to you - if you're gonna drink - don't drive. That's what cabs are for. And if you have friends visiting from out of town or even the suburbs, make sure they have a couch to crash on for the night. Cheers!
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Yesterday afternoon, an off duty police officer was carjacked in Prince George's County. The suspects took his green 1999 Honda CRV, MD Tags M337681.
That was around the dinner hour. At around 8pm or so the vehicle was involved in a robbery purse snatch at 16th and Columbia Road NW. Within several minutes, it was involved in a robbery/gun at 11th and Clifton Street NW.
In both events, the lookout is for 3-5 black males, approximately 15-20 years of age. In the second robbery, they did display a handgun. At this time, the vehicle has not been recovered.
Keep your eyes out for this vehicle and call 911. Use extreme caution.
As a new resident of Logan Circle (which we love), I have installed a central station monitored alarm system in my condo. Primarily I am concerned about protecting my family while we are home (and more so while I am out of town), but I am also interested in protecting our belongings.
My question to the Group is, what would happen if the alarm were tripped and MPD is dispatched? Do officers have some way of accessing the building through our vestibule door security box?
Perhaps more importantly, what happens if a "panic" alarm is triggered - for instance my wife is home alone - do MPD officers have a mechanism by which they can enter the building?
We do NOT have a 24/7desk, it is only attended 9-5, M-F.
Thanks in advance,
- Name witheld
Monday, December 05, 2005
Congratulations to Sherri Kimble, Gina Schaefer, and all the volunteers who made the event so wonderful -- what a day for our neighborhood!
LCCA returns in January - our featured speaker will be Deputy Mayor Reiskin and Chief Ramsey. See you then!
2006 LCCA Officers
At-Large Board of Directors:
Friday, December 02, 2005
I need some help from my neighbors.
For almost two years I have been noticing what looks to be drug sales going on from 1305 P Street (basement unit of a multi-family). Day and night cars will pull up in the no parking zone on Kingman at P and honk their horns till a man comes out who makes an "exchange" in full view of the street.
Even worse he seems to offer a walk-up window - I see people walk down the front steps to the basement level and knock on the side-front window to do their business. The man also has a place he uses over on 9th and O (the well known, often raided crack house where he lived prior to moving to P Street) and he often can be seen loitering on the street there as well.
Two locations to better serve I guess. Sometimes he will sell out of his car - he always parks on P or Kingman and I'm sure you've probably noticed it - it's a '91 white BMW that ALWAYS has temp tags on it (sometimes VA, sometimes DC).
I'm not the only one who's noticed. Other residents of his building have complained to the management company but they believe that someone in the company is friends with him so nothing is ever done. I have complained to the company, the building's actual owner and MPD but no one seems interested.
If any of my neighbors have a view of the front of 1305 P can you please help by keeping an eye out? Can you call the police to report it too if you do see anything going on?
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The OUC was created in FY 2005 and consolidates the emergency 911 and non-emergency 311 and 727-1000 call activities from the Metropolitan Police Department, Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and the Customer Service Operations.
The OUC provides centralized District-wide coordination and management of public safety voice radio technology and other public safety wireless communication systems and resources. Read more on the OUC here.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced the appointment of Michael Latessa as Director of the Public Safety Communications Center (PCSS) on January 26, 2004. The PSCC, now known as the Office of Unified Communications, is the 911/311 operations center for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Department.
Please join us for this discussion.