04/17/14 1:25pm

brookland's_finest
Brookland’s Finest future home at 12th and Jackson Street, NE

From an email:

“Attached is a DC Superior Court decision handed down yesterday. I represented the plaintiff in the case. The case is a FOIA case – one of my practice areas.

The bottom line is that An ANC Commissioner got caught trying to delete a digital public document (an audio recording of an SMD meting) rather than produce it in compliance with a court order.

As a result:

The court referred the matter to both the DOJ and OAG for criminal prosecution of Commissioner Carolyn Steptoe for perjury and for attempted destruction of a public record.

The court found ANC 5B in contempt and ordered it to pay for the cost to hire a forensic computer firm to recover the audio file Commissioner Steptoe tried to delete.

The case arose from the controversy over the Brookland’s Finest liquor license application. My client asked ANC 5B for documents that Commissioner Steptoe gave to her colleagues that she said supported her position that ANC 5B should oppose the license application. My client also sought a copy of the audio recording Commissioner Steptoe made of her April 27, 2013 SMD meeting.

At a march 19, 2014 evidentiary hearing, Commissioner Steptoe testified that she denied my client’s FOIA requests because she did not like the requesters and thought their requests were “rude.”

In the end, ANC 5B was forced to produce all of the documents.”

You can read the full ruling below:

Crimmins v DC Final Order (PDF)

I have heartburn just reading this, can’t imagine actually being involved in it. And in happier news – can’t wait for Brookland’s Finest to finally be able to open soon!!

04/16/14 10:55am

real_ID_DC_DMV

Been getting tons of emails about the new REAL ID:

“Dear PoPville,

I just saw an email about this new ‘REAL ID’ thing the DC DMV is rolling out? Maybe it’s me but it seems a tad confusing. Are we being required to get new IDs, or is there just a new protocol, requiring additional sources of documentation when renewing or getting a new license? If you’re not up for a new license any time soon (i.e. just got mine renewed at the end of 2013- in the new DC license format), do we have to do anything, or is this just a heads up that more documents will be required from here on out, whenever you have to go get a new license?
Thanks for any clarity!”

Effective May 1, 2014, DC DMV will begin issuing REAL ID driver licenses and identification cards. These credentials will meet the REAL ID security standards established by the Federal Government.The document requirements for proof of DC residencyproof of Social Security Number, and proof of identity have changed for everyone, and DC DMV will need to revalidate these documents prior to issuing a REAL ID credential. Therefore, be sure to view the list of acceptable documents and bring those with you when you visit a DC DMV Service Center when obtaining, converting, renewing, or requesting a duplicate credential. DC DMV moved to a central issuance process in November 2013 and will mail your credential to you. Without the required documentation, DC DMV will not be able to issue you a REAL ID driver license or identification card. There are no exceptions to the document requirements or mailing of credentials. 

Throughout the next year, residents will be notified by DC DMV to update their driver license or ID card to the REAL ID credential. For these notifications, residents will not be a charged a fee. However, the fees are the same for residents who are obtaining a credential for the first time or who are converting an out-of-state license or ID, as well as those who are renewing or requesting a duplicate credential.

04/09/14 12:10pm

From a press release:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Terry Bellamy today launched the District’s sixth annual Potholepalooza campaign to expedite pothole repairs on roadways across the city. The Mayor and Bellamy helped fill potholes near the intersection of G Street and Benning Road SE to usher in DDOT’s month-long campaign for aggressively repairing potholes caused by winter weather.

This year’s Potholepalooza will run through May 9. During Potholepalooza, residents and commuters are encouraged to phone, go online, tweet, email or use the DC311 smartphone app to submit requests for pothole repairs. Residents can track the Potholepalooza campaign’s progress via an online map.

How to Report a Pothole

Residents and commuters can notify DDOT about potholes in a variety of ways:

1) Call the Mayor’s Call Center at 311,
2) Use the Online Service Request Center at 311.dc.gov,
3) Send a tweet to twitter.com/DDOTDC,
4) Email Potholepalooza@dc.gov, or
5) Use the District’s new DC311 smartphone application.

Those who report potholes should identify the precise location of the hazard, including the correct quadrant (Northwest, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest) of the District. They should provide as much detail as possible about the hazard, including the approximate size and depth of the pothole. DDOT crews will also be out and about proactively identifying potholes.

How is a pothole repaired?

Road crews fix a pothole by filling it with replacement pavement material. Cold patches are used for small potholes in low-traffic areas because they can be quickly applied. Hot asphalt is used in high-traffic areas or on large potholes, because it will hold much more effectively. If the road has become pitted with potholes, it may need to be resurfaced. Resurfacing a roadway involves stripping the upper layers of asphalt off, roughening the bottom layers, and applying a new upper roadway surface.”

new_garbage_cans

“Dear PoPville,

The garbage can fairies have carpet bombed our neighborhood. Everybody got two cans – whether we need them or not.

What does one do if we don’t need them, have our own trash service (Tenleytown Trash) and want to return them?”

Ed. Note: Seems like a shame to have them recycled with the yellow “Take Me!” signs – anyone know if there is a way to opt out of getting the new cans?

04/08/14 3:15pm

This is pretty cool – from DDOE:

“The District of Columbia has begun work to “daylight” 1,600 linear feet of stream in northwest Washington, DC. This is the first time that stream daylighting, the act of uncovering waterways previously piped in an effort to restore natural habitat, has been undertaken in the District. The stream that is being restored originates from a spring on National Park Service land off Connecticut Avenue and flows to a bridge near the intersection of 36th Street, NW and Nevada Avenue, NW. At this point, the stream enters a pipe which flows beneath Broad Branch Road until the water comes again to the surface as Broad Branch, a tributary to Rock Creek.”

04/07/14 3:15pm

From a press release:

“Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today that he has selected Ellen McCarthy to serve as Director of the DC Office of Planning (OP). McCarthy replaces Harriet Tregoning, who resigned in February to join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. McCarthy begins her role Monday, April 14, 2014.

“Ellen brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in planning to the Office of Planning at a critical and exciting time in the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Gray. “She is excited about continuing to help the District grow and become even more vibrant while respecting the city’s rich history and unique character.”

McCarthy has more than 40 years of experience in the planning field, including serving as Director of Planning and Land Use at two major law firms. She has assisted clients in obtaining development entitlements and advised on possible locations for developers, cultural institutions and sports facilities. Her clients included The Trump Organization, Madison Square Garden and the D.C. Public Library. She currently consults with developers and large institutions regarding planning and land use issues and also teaches in the graduate Urban Planning Program at Georgetown University. McCarthy previously served as Director of the DC Office of Planning from 2004 to 2007, where her accomplishments included overseeing the preparation of the first city-wide Comprehensive Plan in more than 20 years.

McCarthy earned a master’s degree in city planning from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Maryland at College Park where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with high honors. McCarthy is a longtime resident of the District.”

04/02/14 6:32am

DC_Primary_election_2014_results
Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

From the DC Board of Elections:

Of 369,037 total Registered Voters in the District – 83,040 or 22.50% voted:

MAYOR
MURIEL E. BOWSER 35,899 (votes) 44.24%
VINCENT C. GRAY 26,209 32.30%
TOMMY WELLS 10,181 12.55%

AT – LARGE MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL
ANITA D. BONDS 36,426 (votes) 52.85%
NATE BENNETT-FLEMING 15,468 22.44%
JOHN F. SETTLES, II 9,332 13.54%

MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL WARD ONE
BRIANNE K. NADEAU 5,755 (votes) 58.68%
JIM GRAHAM 4,003 40.82%

MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL WARD FIVE
KENYAN McDUFFIE 8,363 (votes) 78.77%
KATHY HENDERSON 1,549 14.59%

MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL WARD SIX
CHARLES ALLEN 7,140 (votes) 57.95%
DARREL THOMPSON 5,156 41.85%

You can see full results here. Congrats to the winners.

04/01/14 3:15pm

From a press release:

“The mayor of the District of Columbia signed a bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. The bill was authored by DC Councilmember Tommy Wells and championed by advocates from across the city including the NAACP, ACLU, Washington Lawyers Committee and the Drug Policy Alliance. The bill will now proceed to a 60 day review period by the United States Congress. All District laws are subject to Congressional review.

What the bill does:

Drops the simple possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal offense, which carries up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, down to a civil offense with a fine of $25.

Outside of Alaska, that would be the smallest monetary fine of any of the states that have decriminalized the drug.

Reduces the maximum penalty for smoking marijuana from a $1000 fine and six months in jail to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The production, sale, and possession of over an ounce would remain a criminal offense.”

03/26/14 11:15am

3416133264_849b8e4fd4_z

From the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Gray and other officials today announced a plan to invest approximately $300 million in a brand-new hospital on the St. Elizabeths East Campus designed to replace the aging District-owned United Medical Center (UMC) on Southern Avenue SE.

Mayor Gray said the plan was the most sensible one to follow to ensure both the availability of high-quality medical care on the East End of the District and the fiscal health of the District – with the added bonus of helping to catalyze further economic development on the historic St. Elizabeths East Campus.

“We know how imperative it is for us to have a full-service hospital on the East End of our city – and, in 2010, the District took control of what is now known as United Medical Center,” Mayor Gray said. “However, it has been difficult for the District to own and operate United Medical Center in a way that is fiscally responsible. Frankly, unless we take decisive action, the hospital will continue to be a ‘money pit’ for District taxpayers.”

He noted that, in the last decade, District taxpayers have spent at least $160 million in subsidies for the current UMC – with no end in sight.

“Unless we have the courage and vision to act decisively now to solve the problem once and for all, the hospital will fail – and the District will have spent all these hundreds of millions of dollars without anything to show for our efforts,” Mayor Gray said. “I have come to the conclusion that building an entirely new hospital on the St. Elizabeths campus makes the most sense for the District in the long run.”

Mayor Gray listed several reasons for investing in a new hospital rather than capital improvements at the current UMC facility:

· Even after making a minimum of a $100 million capital investment in the nearly 50-year-old facility, the District would still be forced to cover $6-8 million annually in facilities maintenance – twice what a new facility would cost in maintenance costs;

· Investing in the current site does not offer the District a meaningful rebranding opportunity for the hospital;

· The current site is not Metro-accessible;

· And none of this investment would meaningfully increase the chances of the District attracting a high-quality operating partner for the hospital.

Mayor Gray contended that, while more costly in the short run, building an entirely new United Medical Center at St. Elizabeths would provide the most long-term advantages as well as a long-term solution to the problem of maintaining high-quality medical services east of the Anacostia River:

· It would allow the District to begin implementing its plans for long-term reform much more quickly than investing in the current United Medical Center campus;

· It would provide a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility – affording the District a major rebranding opportunity and the potential for significantly increased market share that goes along with it;

· It would cut the ongoing costs for facility maintenance and improvement in half;

· The site would offer much better access to public transportation from across Wards 7 and 8 as well as other parts of the area;

· It would greatly strengthen the likelihood of attracting a high-quality operating partner for the hospital;

· And it would further catalyze economic development on the St. Elizabeths campus, serving as yet another focus to attract subsidiary offices, dining, and retail options to service the thousands of employees and visitors for the new hospital.

The Mayor included a feasibility study for the project in his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. His Fiscal Year 2015 Budget will include $20 million for the design of the new hospital, while the $300 million for its construction would be divided among the three following fiscal years ($93 million each in Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017, and the remaining $114 million in Fiscal Year 2018).

The District government would seek to identify an operating partner prior to breaking ground on the hospital, leveraging it as part of the partnership negotiations and allowing the partner input into construction decisions.”