D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmembers Jack Evans and Phil Mendelson helped cut the ceremonial ribbon on a newly expanded jeweler in Dupont Circle earlier this morning.
The Tiny Jewel Box, a longtime jewelry and watch business located at 1147 Connecticut Ave. NW, today held a grand opening ceremony to mark the recent opening of its new 8,000 square foot addition next door.
“I love, love, love family-owned businesses,” Bowser said in a speech before the ribbon-cutting. “Small businesses are indeed the engine of our economy … and the Tiny Jewel Box has doubled down on Connecticut Avenue and doubled down on D.C.”
Bowser also praised the local Golden Triangle business improvement district, calling it a “champion” of businesses across the area.
Bowser, Evans and Mendelson then cut the ribbon along with Golden Triangle executive director Leona Agouridis and Tiny Jewel Box CEO Jim Rosenheim and president Matthew Rosenheim.
Attendees were invited inside for pastries, coffee and a tour of the newly expanded jewelry store following the ceremony.
While President Obama prepared to light the National Christmas Tree at the White House yesterday evening, about two dozen Dupont residents gathered to light tree of their own.
Ward 2 D.C. Councilmember, several ANC 2B commissioners and Santa Claus himself helped neighbors usher in the holiday season by lighting a festive tree in front of La Tomate, located at 1701 Connecticut Avenue NW.
Residents munched on homemade cookies and sipped on pumpkin lattes as part of the annual celebration organized by Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets. After delivering a short speech, Evans then led the crowd in a countdown before lighting the tree.
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) December 3, 2015
The tree’s 1800 lights will shine each evening through the rest of the month.
First it was baseball, now it’s the theater.
D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans wants to take his Ward 2 constituents to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company (610 F St. NW) on Sept. 10 at 7:45 p.m.
From now until next Tuesday, Evans will hand out up to two free tickets to Ward 2 residents on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Sherri Kimbel, the councilmember’s director of constituent services, said the free Shakespeare passes shouldn’t sell out quite as quickly as the Nationals tickets did last week.
“I could not believe how fast we went through the Nats tickets,” Kimbel said over e-mail. “We usually don’t go through the Shakespeare tickets as fast, so folks should be okay for a while.”
Ward 2 residents interested in picking up a pair of free theater tickets should email Amorde Brabham at [email protected].
The D.C. Councilmember has put out a call for Ward 2 residents to claim up to two free tickets for an upcoming game between the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 3 at 7:05 p.m.
The tickets will be given away on a first-come-first-serve basis, says Sherri Kimbel, the councilmember’s director of constituent services. Kimbel adds her office plans to give away about 100 tickets.
Ward 2 residents interested in picking up a pair of free tickets should call 202-724-8058 or email Amorde Brabham at [email protected].
Oliver! — John Oliver skewered opponents of D.C. Statehood on “Last Week Tonight.” “[Eleanor Holmes Norton] basically has pretend power,” Oliver said. “Like a child watching Dora the Explorer.” [Youtube]
101 Violations — D.C. police have now arrested 101 men on prostitution-related charges as part of an ongoing sting operation that began on July 14. [WJLA]
Councilmembers to Get Served — D.C. Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Jack Evans will play in a competitive ping pong match next month, per a suggestion given by At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange. The match will be Sept. 4 from noon to 2 p.m. at Farragut Square. [Washington City Paper]
Man Kidnapped and Assaulted in Columbia Heights — A man was forced into a van at gunpoint and sexually assaulted in Columbia Heights on Friday. Police are currently on the lookout for two suspects. [Borderstan]
ANC 2F will will host a crime prevention meeting on July 9 at the Marriott Marquis, located at 901 Massachusetts Ave NW.
The meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is intended for D.C. residents in Logan Circle, Thomas Circle, Blagden Alley, Franklin Square and parts of Shaw.
Speakers will include D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, Third District D.C. Police Commander Jacob Kishter, Marc Silverman from security company Kastle Systems, and ANC 2F Public Safety Committee Chair Charlie Bengel.
During the meeting, attendees will learn tips on preventing robberies, bike thefts and auto thefts, as well as hear advice related to installing security cameras.
The meeting will conclude with a Q&A.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
DC Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) will come back to the heart of 14th Street to announce his candidacy for DC Mayor tomorrow morning, Saturday, June 8. Then he’ll be hanging around to participate in the Capital Pride Parade, the culminating event of Capital Pride Week, according to Evans’ Facebook page.
Go ahead and get your picture taken with him – you know you want to do it.
Evans-spotting: Where to Go
Evans’ official declaration will take place at 10am in front of newly-opened Le Diplomate Restaurant at 14th and Q Streets NW. Evans has said the choice of location highlights the renaissance of the Logan Circle area.
The Capital Pride Parade will start at 4:30pm at the corner of P and 22nd Streets. It is expected to last three hours. The end point will be at R and 14th Streets.
Evans and the Local Issues
Evans has a long history of ties to the area. His most recent City Council campaign was headquartered was at 1402 14th Street NW, near the corner of Rhode Island Avenue.
In 2012, Evans opposed the proposed closing of Garrison Elementary School at 1200 S Street. In January 2013, the decision was reversed. Evans is also on record as supporting the prompt and complete renovation of the school, which is currently in search of funds in the city budget.
Well-known local landmarks like the P Street Whole Foods, the Washington Convention Center, the Watha T. Daniel Library and the future City Market at O Street in Shaw were established with Evans’ help and influence.
More recently, Evans declared his opposition to the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium in a letter to the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
Other announced candidates for DC Mayor include Councilmembers Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6). Current DC Mayor Vincent Gray and Councilmember David Catania are rumored to be pondering a run as well.
From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
An attempt to slow down the rise of DC home property assessments took a step forward on Monday, March 11. The DC Council’s Committee on Finance and Revenue heard testimony about the possible effects of new law which caps yearly increases of a property’s tax assessment at five percent.
The current cap is 10 percent. DC Council Bill 20-0022 would also eliminate the current requirement that a property’s assessment be at least 40 percent of its market value.
An assessment is defined as “[t]he value assigned to your home by a government tax assessor to determine property tax payments.”
History of the Bill
Committee on Finance and Revenue Chair, Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), opened the meeting by recapping the bill’s history. In recent years, assessed values of many district properties have increased by 25 to 50 percent, Evans said. In response, laws were passed to limit the maximum possible increase in a property’s assessed value.
The first law limited assessment increases to 25 percent yearly. Then successive laws limited assessment increases to 12 percent, and then to 10 percent. Still, Evans said, people testified last year that they can no longer afford to pay taxes on a yearly 10 percent increased assessment.
“There seems to be widespread support on the council” for the measure, Evans said. He added, however, that Council Chairman Phil Mendelson does not support the bill. Speaking after Evans, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) called the bill “an important one.”
Impact on City Revenue
The only witness testifying about Bill 20-0022 was Stephen M. Cordi, Deputy Chief Financial Officer at the DC Office of Tax and Revenue. Cordi testified that the changes were “straight forward” and there would be “no significant problem with implementation.” Cordi said that, without the legislation, the assessments of over half the properties in DC would go up over 5 percent.
When pressed for a ballpark estimate of the possible annual loss of revenue to the city, Cordi speculated that the figure might be around $10 million, but emphasized that he was not sure.
The bill will move into final committee markup in four to eight weeks, after which it must be approved by the full council and the mayor, and reviewed by Congress.
At the same meeting, the council heard testimony on bills to grant property tax relief to certain individual organizations. Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) joined the meeting to champion relief for two projects in his district, the low-income Jubilee Housing Residential Rental Project and the Gala Hispanic Theater.
Representatives from The Washington Latin School and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception also testified in favor of their requests for property tax relief.
From David McAuley. Email at david[AT]borderstan.com
As of today, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans becomes the longest-serving DC councilmember in history. Evans has served 7,947 days (21 years, 9 months). Evans’ office says that there are no special ceremonies or observances planned for the day.
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.
Evans was first elected in a special election held on April 20, 1991, to fill a seat vacated by John A. Wilson, who had become Council chairman. He was sworn in on May 13, 1991. On that day, gasoline cost an average $1.11 a gallon at the pump, the Soviet Union was asking the West to save it from collapse and a 28-year-old Roger Clemens was on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Evans has strong ties to Borderstan. His most recent re-election campaign headquarters was at 1402 14th Street NW, near the corner of Rhode Island Avenue. He opposed the proposed closing of Garrison Elementary School at 1200 S Street and was part of an effort that ended with a January 2013 reversal of the decision to close the school.
He has been involved for many years in attempts to resolve parking problems resulting from the changes in the neighborhood, most recently with a March 2012 proposal for a new parking regime in Logan Circle to make on-street parking easier for residents. His website also highlights his contribution to the establishment of well-known landmarks as the P Street Whole Foods, the Washington Convention Center and the Watha T. Daniel Library, as well as the future City Market at O Street in Shaw, scheduled to open in May.
Until today, the longest-serving DC councilmember was Hilda Mason, who served as an at-large member of the DC Council from 1977 to 1999. Mason died in 2007.
On Thursday, DC Public School Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced revisions to the November proposed plan to close 20 public schools in the District. One of the schools in the proposal included Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW).
However, on Thursday, Henderson removed Garrison from the closure list. Garrison serves students from pre-School through 5th Grade. The Francis-Stevens Education Campus at 2425 N Street was also removed from the closure list.
“Garrison’s staying open is a community victory!” Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham said. “Parents, students, and hundreds of community volunteers worked hard to convince DCPS that Garrison had to stay open. And in the end, the message prevailed.”
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans agreed: “I’m pleased to see that the Chancellor made the right decision and kept Garrison and Francis-Stevens open”, Evans said. “This is a new opportunity, and I know parents and children will take advantage of it. I am hopeful that Chancellor Henderson will continue to work with the parents and neighbors going forward to ensure the long-term vibrancy of these schools. This is a great day for Ward 2.”
Garrison PTA released a statement, which included the following paragraph:
“The most important work begins now. We will remain open and we made commitments to DCPS in order to do so. But more importantly, we made commitments to each other — our students, our parents, our staff, our neighborhood, our city. We must make good on these commitments. It is crucial that we continue to move forward from here with the same enthusiasm. And we need your involvement to do it, so please keep up the good work and involvement.”
On Wednesday evening, December 5, the Garrison Community showed up in full-force at the DC Public Schools meeting on the School Consolidation Proposal. Hundreds of District residents attended, representing Garrison Elementary and other schools slated to close next year.
Ward 2 D.C. Council member Jack Evans addressed DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, and told her that he is against the city’s plan to close the Logan Circle school.
“I do not support closing Garrison,” said Evans at the meeting. “Garrison has become a focal point of the Logan Circle Community.”
Evans even tweeted live from the meeting with comments attendees were making, as well as photos of the crowd.
The Garrison PTA stated that even reporters present at the meeting took notice of Garrison’s numbers and strong support. Martin Austermuhle from DCist tweeted, “Garrison ES highest turnout tonight, has generally dominated conversation on school closures.”
Prior to the meeting at Brightwood Education Campus, the Garrison PTA arranged a dinner meeting at the school and transportation to the meeting’s location, as well as childcare.
On November 13, Henderson announced a plan to consolidate the DC public school system. The plan includes a proposal to close Garrison Elementary and 19 other schools throughout the city.
This week, DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a proposal to close 20 schools in six wards across the city. Two of the schools on the list – Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW) and Shaw at Garnet-Patterson Middle School (2001 10th Street NW) – are expected to close for the 2013-2014 school year.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) sent an email to community members letting them know that he and Councilmember Jim Graham opposed to closing Garrison.
“Garrison, with its lively and involved support system consisting of parents, a strong PTA, and community support from the Logan Circle Citizens Association and the ANC, should remain open,” said Evans.
“If consolidation is needed, students can come from Seaton to Garrison. Garrison is at nearly 70 percent capacity – higher than almost any other school set to close.”
Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has scheduled an upcoming Council hearing for Nov. 19. Evans is requesting that the Chairman re-open the witness lists so that more community members can put submit views on the record.
The DCPS website lists several ways in which parents and the community can provide feedback, including:
- Two DC Council hearings
- Four community meetings
- An online forum for feedback
- DCPS office hours (available times will be posted on the DCPS website after Dec. 5.)
“Please take advantage of all these forums to express your views,” said Evans, who plans on participating in the hearings and in a meeting with Teachers’ Union President Nathan Saunders.
From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT]borderstan.com and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.
The Uber conundrum took yet another turn this week as the DC Council briefly considered an amendment that would restrict the car service’s ability to operating only as a luxury alternative.
Uber, the tech-enabled car service that brings luxury cars to the doorstep of anyone with a smartphone, has been embattled by the DC Taxicab Commission since its launch last December.
Yesterday’s proposal was an attempt to bring the car service into compliance with DC law, and was the fruit of several months of collaboration between councilmembers, the Taxicab Commission and Uber representatives.
The sticking spot in these negotiations was a proposed price floor that would force Uber to operate only as a “sedan class” service. The price floor mandated that Uber charge a minimum fare of $15 – three times the taxicab minimum – crippling its plans to expand into lower-cost transportation services in the District, as it has in New York and other cities.
In a characteristically impassioned e-mail sent yesterday, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick denounced the price floor, accusing members of the DC Council of stifling entrepreneurs, and calling on his supporters to reject this politically motivated interference (yes, he went there). Twitter-savvy Uber users took the cause viral, and in the 12 hours that followed, Council members received tens of thousands of Tweets and e-mails urging them to strike down the amendment. Many undoubtedly came from an online petition at change.org in support of Uber.
Yesterday morning, Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) announced that she would do just that, but expressed disappointment at the breakdown of what she believed was an amicable agreement. “Uber contacted me and asked to work together to legalize services like [theirs] in the District, and I have met with Uber many times, negotiated in good faith and believed that I had reached an agreement with them last week,” Cheh wrote in an e-mail.
Despite being caught off guard, Cheh stated her intention to reintroduce the amendment – likely without the $15 minimum – before the council. “I am flabbergasted but flexible,” she said. In a time when things move as fast as Uber, she probably has the right attitude.
In fact, that line proves all too true. Late yesterday Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) introduced an amendment to the taxi modernization bill recognizing Uber’s operations as legitimate under DC law. The amendment, which leaves out the contested price controls, was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Micahel A. Brown (I-At Large), David Catania (I-At-Large and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6).
From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
About 45 residents, government officials, and community leaders attended a public meeting on improving public safety hosted by the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2B) Wednesday night at the Jewish Community Center (see Wednesday: ANC 2B Hosting Public Safety Forum at JCC).
The meeting, entitled “A Safer Dupont,” was moderated by new ANC 2B Public Safety Liaisons Kishan Putta and Noah Smith.
The goal of the meeting, as Smith described, was “to reach out to the community and hear from residents and business owners about what concerns they have regarding public safety. This meeting was really a listening session and opportunity for folks to influence what Kishan and I plan to work on in the next few months.”
Auto and Smartphone Crimes
Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) gave opening remarks and touted the improvements in public safety in the District in recent years.
The 40 homicides as of June 20 are a decrease from 52 at this point last year and put D.C. on pace to have less than 100 homicides for the first time since 1963.
Evans also pointed out that thefts of electronics from automobiles and robberies involving smartphones are increasingly a problem and residents need to be more conscious of their surroundings and take precautions to avoid becoming victims of crimes of opportunity.
ANC 2B Chair Will Stevens (ANC 2B-08) noted that the ANC meeting agenda is often dominated by regulatory applications and so liaisons and other public meetings like this one are an important way for the ANC to be more proactive about issues like public safety.
Road Safety, Biking Discussed
The meeting included discussion of both road safety issues and crime and law enforcement concerns. A number of representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) attended the meeting to hear resident concerns. Shane Farthing, executive director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), recognized that as a result of the 20 percent growth in bicycling in the past year, there may be some conflicts between bikes, cars, and pedestrians.
While bicycle riding on the sidewalk is only prohibited in the Central Business District, WABA encourages all riders to avoid sidewalk riding entirely. Residents encouraged DDOT to improve signage explaining the boundaries of the Central Business District and also recommended improvements to the bike lanes on 15th Street NW.
A draft DDOT report on bicycle facilities includes a number of recommendations to improve the lanes, including better traffic signals for southbound bikers. A number of residents also expressed concerns about traffic signals in Dupont Circle and the inability for cyclists and pedestrians to safely navigate the circle.
Hassan Naveed of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) provided statistics on bias crimes in the District. There were 91 such offenses citywide in 2011, up from 68 in 2010. Fifty four of these were related to sexual orientation or gender identity, up from 45 in 2010. Naveed encouraged victims of any bias-related crime to call 911 first, but also contact the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) and GLOV. The GLOV website has a number of safety tips and victim resources.
A number of MPD officers were in attendance, including Second District Commander Michael Reese, Third District Commander Jacob Kishter, and Police Service Area Lieutenants John McDonald (PSA 208) and Nicole Lindsey (PSA 301).
Possible Joint PSA 208 and 301 Meetings
McDonald and Lindsey announced they are considering combining their monthly PSA meetings, because of the overlap of issues and concerns in PSA 301 and PSA 208. As a good example, the meeting location at the Jewish Community Center is in PSA 208, but across the street to the north side of Q Street NW is the south boundary of PSA 301. Meetings for both PSAs are currently held on the third Tuesday of the month, but this date may be changed to avoid a schedule conflict with the Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association monthly meetings.
Kishter reminded attendees to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity and also encouraged residents to make use of MPD’s text tip system if they want to report information anonymously. The number to text is 50411. For minor property damage or theft, residents can also make use of MPD’s Online Reporting Tool.
Bicycle-related issues emerged again during the law enforcement portion of the meeting as a concern of residents. MPD officials admitted that bicyclists are not cited often for failure to obey red lights and other traffic signals, although bicycle officers are directed to enforce traffic laws. Commander Kishter noted that bicycle thefts are fairly common and that residents should have pictures or other identifying information so they can claim a stolen bike if it is recovered. Bike owners are also encouraged to register their bike with the free National Bike Registry.
Putta and Smith will follow up with the concerns at the meeting and plan to hold a series of discussions on public safety issues in the Dupont area.
Kishan expressed his satisfaction with how this first meeting turned out: “Despite the hot-weather advisories, we had a full-house and productive, non-heated discussions between us, the residents, the police, the interest groups, and the government. We’re not going to solve every problem to everyone’s satisfaction, but, by continuing the kind of collaboration that we had tonight, we can work together to improve many aspects of safety in our neighborhood.”
After its second cancellation, the Ward 2 Sate of the Schools meeting is now rescheduled for Wednesday, June 27 at 5 pm.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, and DC Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, will host the meeting for parents and community to discuss future improvements in Ward 2 schools and its education system.
The meeting will be held at Francis Stevens Education Campus, 2425 N Street NW. A meet and greet with area principals starts at 5 pm; the meeting with Jack Evans and Kaya Henderson begins at 5:45 pm.
Meeting attendees will be able to contribute ideas and suggestions for school improvements, particularly in regards to improving elementary and middle schools, as well as the feeder program in all school levels. Central office employees and school leaders will also be on-hand to answer questions and to meet with those in attendance.
For additional information on the meeting, please visit the State of the Schools webpage or contact Jennifer Skates at jennifer.skates[AT]dc.gov at the DCPS Office of Family and Public Engagement.