It finally happened.
After years of planning and plenty of fundraising, Dupont Underground officially opened its inaugural exhibit “Raise/Raze” to a small crowd of journalists, artists and local leaders earlier this morning.
Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, Councilmember At-Large David Grosso, ANC 2B’s Daniel Warwick and members of the Dupont Underground board were among those that attended the event.
The D.C. Council is used to a lot of back-and-forth, but it’s not usually this literal.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans joined seven other councilmembers for a ping pong tournament in Farragut Square this afternoon. The event was organized by at-large Councilmember Vincent Orange and the Golden Triangle BID, which holds events in the square every Friday.
Evans faced off against Orange, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd, Ward 8 Councilmember LaRuby May, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman and Council Chairman Phil Mendelson in singles and doubles tournaments.
Evans was a playful but formidable competitor, defending his home turf of Ward 2 with a gentle serve and an extensive arsenal of smack talk.
After winning his first game — an 11-5 rout against Todd — Evans said he wasn’t expecting his table tennis skills to come back to him, since it’s been more than 40 years since he last played.
“I grew up playing ping pong in the 50s and 60s, but back then everyone had homemade tables,” he said. “Your dad would get a piece of plywood and paint it green and you’d buy a set and play. I haven’t had a paddle in my hand for 45 years, but I guess it’s something you never forget, like riding a bike.”
Evans’ confidence waned after losing in the second round of the singles tournament to May.
Ultimately, it was Orange who emerged victorious.
But Evans seemed to have the last laugh: As Orange posed with his trophy for the singles tournament, Evans grabbed it and joked that Orange had been using deflated ping pong balls.
Ward 2 residents can frolic in a giant ball pit for free tomorrow morning.
From 9 to 11 a.m., residents of Councilmember Jack Evans’ ward can freely enter The BEACH, a National Building Museum (401 F Street NW) exhibit with nearly one million translucent plastic balls and a “shoreline” decked with beach chairs and tables.
Visitors are welcome to dive into the massive ball pit, play beach games like paddleball and bring a book to read in the beach furniture.
Attendees must show a valid form of I.D. at the admissions desk to enter the BEACH. Visitors must use the F Street entrance between 5th and 6th streets.
The event is part of the museum’s Ward Days series.
Photo via Flickr.com/NationalBuildingMuseum
Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) officially announced his candidacy for DC mayor on Saturday, June 8. Evans has represented the Dupont-Logan area on the DC Council since 1991 when he first won a special election to fill the seat. (See Jack Evans Dishes on Three Decades of Public Service.) The date for the 2014 Democratic primary, and other party primaries, has not been set.
Evans made his announcement outdoors at the corner of 14th and Q Streets NW in front of the newly opened Le Diplomate restaurant. It was a fitting backdrop for the candidate, who told the crowd, “This is one of the new restaurants on 14th Street… that has transformed DC into one of the most desirable cities in America.” Evans spoke of DC’s transformation in the past decade and talked of how to make it “one of the great cities in the world.”
Incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray has not said whether he will seek a second term. However, Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) is already in the race as is Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). It is Evans’ second run for mayor; he was a candidate in the 1998 Democratic primary, which was won by former two-term Mayor Anthony Williams. Evans was re-elected to sixth full term on the Council in 2012.
Evans emphasized that he was committed to “preserving” the foundations of DC while “transforming” it into a world-class city. He spoke of assisting, educating and helping DC residents for the new jobs brought by DC’s rapid development. He said that in terms of education that DC needs a “school to career pathway” that focuses on DC’s “vital industries.”
“Change is difficult. It can also be a good thing,” Evans said.
Ward 2 includes most of Borderstan (Dupont-Logan) west of 11th Street and south of U Street NW, and extends to Georgetown, the Potomac and the Capitol.
At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans introduced three pieces of legislation affecting education and the arts, contracting and taxation in the District. The Dupont-Logan area is part of Ward 2.
Education and the Arts
The “Public School Librarians, Art and Music Teacher Act of 2012” requires each DC public school to have a full-time librarian, art teacher and music teacher.
According to a recently published article in The Huffington Post, DC Public Schools announced last May that it was cutting allocated funding for librarians at schools with less than 300 students. As a result, 58 of 124 DC schools started the 2012 school year without librarians.
“It’s hard for me to believe that we continue to invest nearly $2 billion a year into our public schools, with the highest per-pupil funding formula in the nation, and yet have one of the worst educational outcomes in the nation,” said Evans in a press release statement. “This suggests to me that our money is not being spent in the right places.”
The “Council Contract Review Repeal Act of 2012” limits the way the Council is able to intervene in the contracting process. With this piece of legislation, Evans hopes to eliminate ethical violations that occur with vendor selection by ensuring that contracting is merit-based.
Evans also introduced a Sense of the Council Resolution related to the possibility of a commuter tax. This piece of legislation would apply taxes to Virginia and Maryland residents who frequently travel into the District for work.
“Many Virginia and Maryland residents take advantage of the infrastructure and business opportunities offered within the District every day, and yet don’t contribute to its upkeep through their income tax dollars,” said Evans. According to a press release issued by Evans’ office, Evans is believed to have Republican support on the commuter tax proposal.
For more information on these pieces of legislation, visit www.jackevans.org or contact Evans’ office at (202) 724-8058.
By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
Given Mayor Vincent Gray’s legal troubles and Chairman of the Council Kwame Brown still under
investigation, it seems to have created an open field for the Mayor’s seat. Or so the The Washington Post would have you believe.
It seems they believe the leading contenders — noted, this means those that have taken steps to consider a bid, not their endorsement — may be Muriel Bowser, an African-American Washingtonian in her second term as Councilmember of Ward 4; long-time Councilmember Jack Evans (Ward 2) and Councilmember Tommy Wells (Ward 6). Ward 2 includes the Dupont and Logan neighborhoods.
When asked about possible mayoral aspirations, Evans’ office provided the following statement from the Ward 2 councilmember: “Right now, I remain focused on Ward 2 and the work of the Committee on Finance and Revenue. Like most elected officials, I always aspire to higher office and if an opportunity were to present itself, I would certainly consider it.”
What is notable about that list is not that all are sitting councilmembers; it’s that two of the three are white. DC has had an African American mayor since ‘home rule’ — when DC was allowed to begin governing itself in the 1970s — and it seems this could possibly be the election to break that streak.
Washington City Paper seems less than satisfied with the list of prospective candidates posed by the Post in their comment, “yeesh.” The city’s demographic trends make a strong white candidate a distinct possibility. We will all have to see who emerges as the front-runner to take hold of a fractious council and ongoing budget turmoil.
What a lucky person they will be, regardless of pigmentation! All kidding aside, the district is changing in demographics, income and goals. The next mayor will have a large hand in the path forward and in defining what direction counts as forward. Read up and get engaged, already.
At their first monthly meeting since the tragic shooting at the Heritage India restaurant last month, the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood (ANC) Commission 2B opened debate about safety and security at area bars and restaurants. ANCs are often the first stop for any new establishment that is seeking an Alcoholic Beverage Regulatory Administration (ABRA) license.
Frequently neighbors and ANCs protest license applications to ensure leverage in controlling things such as an establishment’s hours of service, type of entertainment and security measures.In the incident at Heritage, the club owners had given permission for a promoter to host an event at the restaurant after they had finished dinner service for the evening.
At some point a fight broke out that continued out onto the 1300 block of Connecticut Avenue NW just south of Dupont Circle. Johnte Coleman of Maryland was hit when gunfire erupted, he later died from his wound, five others were injured.
A few days after the shooting Police Chief Cathy Lanier ordered the restaurant to close for 96 hours. Shortly after that, ABRA pulled the restaurant’s liquor license pending a review. This week the restaurant’s license was reinstated with restrictions – they will only be able to sell alcohol with food, close at midnight and will need to come up with an acceptable security plan. At the ABRA hearing it was disclosed that the restaurant did not follow their established security procedures.
Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) was a guest speaker at the December 14 meeting and expressed shock and outrage at the violence that occurred at Heritage India. He cited the challenges caused by restaurants that morph into nightclubs late at night and pointed out ongoing safety and noise issues at other establishments in the ward, including Mood Lounge on 9th Street NW in the Shaw neighborhood.
Last week Evans introduced legislation called The Reimbursable Detail Expansion & Promoter Regulation Act of 2011 to address ABRA’s current lack of regulation of promoters. The legislation also seeks to expand the Metropolitan Police Department’s reimbursable detail program by requiring certain establishments to pay for adequate security unless they are granted an exemption by ABRA.
Events like the one organized by the promoter at Heritage would require additional security. In his remarks before the ANC, he pointed out that the legislation needs refinement since not every promoted event requires security. He also mentioned removing the word “reimbursable” from the legislation.
After Evans’ remarks, ANC Commissioner Mike Silverstein of Single Member District (SMD) 2B06, who is also a member of the ABRA’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC), added that the ABC Board forwarded the case to the Office of the Attorney General for a show cause hearing. He also emphasized ABRA’s desire to get a handle on bad promoters and cited the challenges of pop-up events promoted through social media on the Internet.
Commissioner Phil Carney (SMD 2B07), whose district includes Heritage India, praised the competent and prompt response by the Metropolitan Police Department in the aftermath of the violence. He added that promoted events have been a problem for years and mentioned that neighboring Prince Georges County, Maryland, requires licensing of promoters.
During the debate commissioners called out other Dupont Circle restaurants who have late-night promoter events and continue to be a source of frustration for neighbors — the other establishments mentioned include Bistro Bistro at 1727 Connecticut Avenue NW and Marrakesh P Street / Pasha Lounge at 2147 P Street, NW.
Commissioner Jack Jacobson (SMD 2B04) pointed out that the ANC 2B knew of problems at ABC licensed establishments but has never opposed a renewal. “Buck shold stop here!” he tweeted during the meeting. We should hear more on the Heritage India incident from Evans and the ANC next month, as the bill moves to a hearing and the ANC continues the discussion at their next meeting.
Great Wall Szechuan House Getting Major Revamp
No, the Great Wall of China is not getting a makeover! But, first the important news regarding the major dining room revamp at Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street NW: The kitchen is open and they are making deliveries (verified by Borderstan Thursday night). The very basic, plain dining room is getting a total makeover and a member of the restaurant’s staff said they hope to reopen for in-house dining by early January, if not before.
Evans Introduces Promoter Regulation Act
DC Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced a bill to promote safety at events organized and sponsored by promoters. The press release from Evans’ office says The Reimbursable Detail Expansion & Promoter Regulation Act of 2011 would direct the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to create uniform regulations governing promoters who organize and sponsor events in the District.
In addition, the bill would impact participation in the Metropolitan Police Department’s reimbursable detail program by requiring certain establishments to pay for adequate security unless they are granted an exemption by ABRA. For events involving promoters, extra security would be mandatory. The bill introduction comes a few weeks after the tragic shooting of Jhonte Coleman at a private event organized by a promoter and held at the Heritage India restaurant, just south of Dupont Circle.
Income Gaps Persists Along Racial Lines in DC
The Washington Post reports on new Census data that shows income disparity between whites and blacks in DC has widened over the years, while suburban counties have seen a narrowing of the gap. In 2010 DC whites earned $3.06 for every $1.00 in black income. Earlier this year, census figures showed that the African American population in the District dropped below 50 percent for the first time in decades. Experts quoted in the Post story cite the black middle class flight to the suburbs and the increase in young, professional whites moving to the city as the reason for the persistent income gap.
Heritage India Loses Liquor License
This news surprises no one, as the weekend’s violent melee at the “world-class restaurant” has continued to be the most discussed item in Dupont Circle. Washington Examiner reports that the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) suspended Heritage India’s license, citing Heritage India’s inability to control the violence. Among items of concern was the restaurant’s deviation from their own security plan, lack of working surveillance cameras and failure to use metal detectors on the boisterous crowd assembled for an event billed as ‘Black Out’ Thanksgiving. No word on the restaurant’s plan to appeal or accept the suspension or their future operating plans.
World AIDS Day Observances
Thursday marked World AIDS Day, and DC participated in the event in a number of important ways. The Wilson Building shown red to highlight the impact of AIDS in DC, a mobile van was outside offering testing for much of the day and a candlelight vigil was held in Dupont Circle. DCist has a full recap of other events, including two hearings on AIDS legislation and for non-city sponsored events, our story is here.
Constituent Service Funds: Too Legit to Quit?
A few members came under scrutiny a while ago after reporters saw some documentation on how constituent service fund dollars were being spent (see: Jack Evans, The Washington Post). But things got quiet after a defense of the expenditures from Evans. Expect the issue to be back on at least the local news radar, after the Washington City Paper published an angry missive from Alan Suderman. There is a pretty long list of items purchased with those funds in his piece, and while it’s not damning, it’s none too pleasant to see in ink either.
Metro Fights Back for the 99%?
TBD certainly took the #OWS (Occupy Wall Streeet) frame of the story and ran with it. As a girl who likes shiny things, I feel for the woman. Even more so after learning, from NBC Washington, it was an engagement ring/family heirloom.
Apparently, while removing her gloves on the Dupont Circle escalator, a woman lost a century-old, expensive diamond and sapphire ring. Metro is looking for it, they report, but have yet to find it. If you found it, do the right thing and turn it in. Otherwise, she may be the happiest person in the world that a ton of escalator work is scheduled for the station in the near future.
Zipcar and Living Social Birthed in Dupont California Pizza Kitchen?
Well, sort of — the company that invested/created both entities was borne out of a lunch meeting in California Pizza Kitchen in DC (now home to Casa Nonna). Revolution is a company owned and operated by founder of AOL and former chair of AOL Time Warner, Steve Case. So after he left AOL Time Warner, The Atlantic says he took a colleague out for pizza. All good things emerge over barbecue chicken pizzas, it turns out.
Moving on From Greig’s Departure from Race
You probably know by now we’re fans of many of the things Greater Greater Washington does. David Alpert takes to their pages to make an impassioned plea for the rare breed of politician who is a good candidate and also a good advocate for their community. Sometimes, it may be necessary to take a chance on a candidate that others call inexperienced in order to embrace a measure of change. Surely the DC residents that took to U Street in celebration of that candidate on a national scale — Obama — can embrace that spirit in order to look at all the candidates fairly and make the best choice for their neighborhood. Or are all those traits necessary? Or, do you love our City Council as is?
Fenty Plays Rainmaker for Jack Evans
Former Mayor Adrian Fenty still has serious clout, according to the piece by DCist. While Evans has plenty of pull as an 18-year member of the Council, I am sure he still appreciated the fundraiser Fenty threw for him that added a cool $20,000 to his campaign fund. The most recent campaign finance report filed by Evans indicates no signs of slowing down on fundraising, despite the lack of an opponent so far. However, Evans may get a challenger in 32-year-old McKinsey consultant Fiona Greig, says the Georgetown Dish. Guess that fundraising effort was not in vain. If you’re a loyal Borderstan reader, though, you already heard the reasons why when we chatted with Evans.
Recap of Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Festival
For those of you that stayed in town and, due to Metro closures, stayed even closer to home around U Street NW, we’re looking for your take on the STPP Festival. Washington City Paper checked in on the festival and found some improvements over the June event. They had done a longer feature on the founder, Dave Mann, which is worth a peek if you’re still confused what this named-for-food-but-really-all-music festival was all about and wanted to see round two. The verdict seems to be more people and better organization with a reminder that allowing all bands to be booked that want to play isn’t always music to the ears of the attendees.
Deceased Area Resident on ‘Millionaire’
Everything about the story of the death of Benoy Chacko is mysterious, and now another layer of weirdness will descend as he will appear on a pre-taped show of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Chacko was found dead on the Metro tracks outside of the Rockville station on October 1, and authorities, family and friends are still struggling to piece together the events that led to his death. As the Washington Examiner explains, the airing of the show he competed on earlier this year was one of many things he was eager to experience. It’s been a scary fall so far in DC, so please, stay safe.
Nurturing for Dupont Circle Business Available
If your local business needs some TLC, what better place than an incubator? The The Washington Post has a great piece on the Dupont Circle Business Incubator, which offers work space with all the amenities. The hope is to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in area businesses, whether they are established and growing or simply need some additional guidance. As we and other neighborhood blogs often bemoan the loss of small businesses on 14th Street NW and elsewhere, it’s important to remember that creative, thoughtful owners are right under our noses.
What’s Happening: Meat Outside of Borderstan
I have gotten some flack for hating on traipsing out of the immediate area (um, it is a neighborhood blog, y’all). But just to show some love for the MD and VA peeps out there, here are two things worth checking out. If you were without Metro service, it can be your weekend ‘staycation.’ More importantly, it involves giant turkey legs and bacon, so just go ahead and get on out there! In VA, Restaurant 3 is doing a Bacon Week (details from We Love DC) and throw some axes and eat turkey legs at the Renaissance Fair in MD (also thanks to We Love DC, who is doing a bus trip on Saturday).
A look at recent developments related to business and politics in the Borderstan area…
Gold Mines on 14th and 11th Streets
Lydia DePillis at Washington City Paper has the details on the effort by Monument Realty and another developer to convince the owners of prime Logan Circle property to sell. The townhouses on 14th between Riggs and S Streets NW and another grouping at 11th and N Streets NW — perhaps best known as textbook examples of bad 1970s architecture — were built as affordable rental properties and then sold to residents in 1998 for bargain prices. The developer’s plans for redevelopment hinge on whether the parcels may be rezoned for higher density and the vote of condominium association members who are being offered top dollar for their homes.
Monument is offering the current owners six or seven times the price they paid almost 10 years ago in order to take over the property, demolish the buildings and redevelop it. 14th & You has a great assessment of the article. “‘We’re living on a gold mine!’ one resident protested. ‘You can live on the gold mine for the rest of your life!’ said Monument’s Josh Olsen… ‘You’re not going to get gold out of the gold mine unless you sell!’ ”