by June 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,789 0

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

DCist reported Monday that Councilmember Marion Barry has withdrawn his opposition to finalizing the H Street NE streetcar project. The initiative, which will place trolley-like cars along the up-and-coming H Street commercial district, was put in limbo last week by Barry’s disapproval of the final $50 million contract needed to complete construction.

"DC Streetcar"

Don’t bet on streetcars for Borderstan. (Luis Gomez Photos, file photo)

Those involved with the project feared Barry’s opposition would delay a planned July 2013 inauguration of the streetcar system, and are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief at this news.

The last DC streetcar line stopped running in 1962, and their return is perhaps one of the city’s most covered public works topics in recent years. In addition to the H Street line, The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) has started construction of streetcar service in Anacostia, with service expected in fall 2012.

The original streetcar system plans called for lines on 14th and U S Streets NW, with plans showing a 14th Street line that would connect to lines on K Street NW and U Street NW. However, the U Street Streetscape work underway makes no provisions for streetcars, nor does the dormant 14th Street upgrading. In other words, don’t bet the house on streetcar tracks in Borderstan any time soon.

Not to say Barry is against progress, of course. In a statement released this week, Barry defended his now-ceded stance on streetcars, saying the projects puts undue emphasis on “newcomers” and take funds from the most neglected parts of the city (including his own Ward). “I am attempting to protect the tax-payer,” Barry insisted.

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by April 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,300 0

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

It may be hard to fathom, but Marion Barry has once again lowered the bar for public conduct.

Politico reported that last week the former mayor touched off a firestorm after calling Asian businesses “dirty.” In a video that quickly went viral, Barry can be seen expressing his concern about Asian-owned businesses being established in the District. “They ought to go,” he tells supporters. “We need African-American businesspeople to be able to take their places, too.” (The story continues to garner lots of coverage in local media outlets.)

Barry, who recently won the Democratic primary for Ward 8 and, thus, effectively reelection to that Council seat, immediately fired back at critics of his remarks. But rather than dampen the fires, he added fuel. In defending his comments, Barry revealed further bias against businesses owned by Asian Americans: “A number of these restaurants serve high caloric food, bad food…but the more important thing, they don’t participate in the community… That’s what I object to, I don’t care who it is.”

Finally, on Thursday Barry apologized via Twitter, conceding that he “could and should have said it differently.”

If he isn’t careful, Barry might tarnish his good name…

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by February 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm 1,518 0

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at alden[AT] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

The Washington Post reported that the DC Council has approved new rules requiring its members to “treat other members with dignity and respect and refrain from using profane, indecent or abusive language” in public meetings. Fittingly, the vote went without debate.

The DC Council is based at the Wilson Building, 14th and Pennsylvania NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Chairman Kwame R. Brown spearheaded the resolution, which was prompted by last week’s heated exchange between Councilmen David Catania and Marion Barry. The new rules allow Brown to remove decorum offenders from future meetings so long as it does not impede their ability to cast a vote.

Speaking of missing votes, Barry skipped Tuesday’s council meeting and did not vote on the proposal.

Although Catania supported the measure, he questioned why the Council, which is endlessly fraught with ethics scandals, would suddenly be concerned about profanity. “This body [is injecting] itself as Emily Post or Miss Manners while last year the majority of members said nothing when a colleague essentially admitted to stealing,” he said, according to The Post. Catania was frustrated by the media’s fixation on the ethics rules rather than on more pressing matters, such as his recent work providing services to at-risk youth.

But Catania’s verbal assault on Barry — including calling him a “despicable human being” — received too much coverage to be ignored, and has many calling for an apology.

“We’re going to take him into the back room and kick his tail,” the Rev. R. Joyce Scott said recently. “And we’re going to do that in public.” Scott did not specify the location of this public back room.

On Tuesday, Catania stood by his heated exchange with Barry, saying he will not apologize.

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Related Posts

by February 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm 2,030 1 Comment

From Alden Leonard. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him @aldenleonard on Twitter.

DC Councilmembers David Catania and Marion Barry traded barbs at a Valentine’s Day work retreat, according to reports from several local media sources, including DCist and Washington Examiner.

"Borderstan""Borderstan Map" covers DC’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.

After a presentation by the District’s chief financial officer, Barry interjected a question about United Medical Center, a troubled hospital in his ward. Catania immediately unloaded a litany of insults on Barry.

According to reports, “F you, Marion,” Catania proposed, accusing the former mayor of being “full of s&%t” and “a despicable human being.” Catania’s reasoning for the attack was that Barry neglects the medical center, and that his “agenda is so transparent.”

Barry has since stated that he believes Catania’s verbal attacks were racially motivated. But Catania stood by his remarks. Observers note that the relationship between Barry and Catania has always been contentious.

So much for feeling the love on Valentine’s Day.

For newcomers to the Borderstan area, a short bit of history on both men’s political careers. Catania was first elected to the council in a 1997 special election as a Republican — but left the party and became an Independent a number of years ago due to his disagreement with the GOP’s positions on social and other issues. While Catania is one of four At-Large councilmembers, he does live in the greater Borderstan area. Barry, a Democrat, represents the 8th Ward.

Over the course of his career Barry has been a member of the City Council, then mayor for 12 years, then a member of Council for two years, then mayor for four more years before finally returning to his Ward 8 seat.

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by November 30, 2011 at 8:00 am 2,086 0

"Borderstan""Meridian Hill Park"

Today is the last day to help rescue Koi from the pond at Meridian Hill Park. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

How on earth is it the end of November? It seems the weather is finally recognizing that December is nearly upon us, unfortunately. The rest of us have been jolted into submission by Black Friday, spending most of Monday waiting for a website to load to use a 50% coupon or the arrival of a (shudder) holiday Justin Bieber album. At any rate, here’s the news.

Last Day for Koi Rescue at Meridian Hill Park

The Washington Humane Society says today, November 30, is the final day for volunteers to come out and help rescue the Koi in the pond at Meridian Hill Park. According to a spokesperson for WHS, “This summer, a resident brought several koi fish to the “pond” at Meridian Hill Park in an attempt to beautify his neighborhood. However, the fish multiplied tremendously and now the pond is now scheduled to be drained for the winter season. There was no plan in place for these fish and the community was concerned. When our officers learned that these fish might not survive, they immediately contacted groups across the region to help ensure these fish could be safely removed from the pond and given a new home.

“Eventually, we connected with G and G Aquatics, a trusted organization that serves the mid-Atlantic region including the National Zoo and National Aquarium, who agreed to help to find homes for these fish. The rescue efforts began on November 17, and quickly proved to be a very large task with hundreds more fish than originally estimated, so we have been recruiting volunteers to assist with our efforts and placement as G and G is unable to take additional fish.”

Transience: A Good Thing for DC?

The Washington City Paper takes the positive spin on how transient DC is, citing an expert that finds changes in population may mean more diversity, less poverty and more happiness. While that may mean that few people are born and raised Caps fan (and therefore knew who Dale Hunter was prior to Monday) and Yankees games are promo-worthy at Nats Stadium, it’s a much more pleasant way to view the in and out nature of our population. It’s worth checking out the map and figuring out which states are ‘stuck’ and which are not. I bet there’s at least one that surprises you!

Non-Transient DC: Barry to Run Again

This time, who knows what “b*&^h” set Marion Barry up; for another run at DC Council, that is. The Washington Post got the tip off Tuesday after Barry filed papers to run again in Ward 8. Despite his checkered past, seven opponents and extremely long tenure in DC politics, observers think the seat is his for the taking. Barry has spoken of the importance of job training in his ward, and has recently announced his intent to provide ex-felons protection from employers who are ‘biased against’ employing them given their records. I have to confess, when I heard this news, I thought he was running for mayor again…

What Did the Obamas Buy at Kramerbooks?

If we were like ‘OK’, we’d file this under, “POTUS: Just Like Us!” Alas, we have slightly more self-respect and only cover the literary and fine dining adventures of the Obamas in the news section. At any rate, we told you the family visited Kramerbooks over the weekend. But what did they buy? Find out at Melville House. Am I geeking out that I own and love the first book on the list? A little. Please don’t judge me.

by March 2, 2011 at 5:15 am 1,566 0

DC street sweeping, Department of Public Works, Borderstan

Don’t get towed! Street sweeping got underway for the year yesterday in D.C. and the Department of Public Works has done more than post new signs; more streets have been added for cleaning and the days and times that blocks will be cleaned have changed. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancater

West Dupont Liquor Moratorium Reviewed, Changes Recommended

The notes put on Scribd indicate some interesting recommendations are going before ANC2B with regards to the West Dupont [liquor] Moratorium. These include a call to eliminate the cap on CR/DR licenses to create a new ‘Restaurant Row,’ as well as more guidance on voluntary agreements. They recommend more VA’s be sought with new businesses and favor closing hours before 1am on weeknights and before 3am on weekends. Kevin O’Connor, who represents part of that area on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B is heading up the panel; check out his site for some background. What do you think?



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